Actor Michael B. Jordan says that ever since starring in the 2013 drama “Fruitvale Station,” various projects centered on just about “every historical black figure has come across my desk.”
“As much as I would love to play all of them, I can’t,” he said Saturday at the 2019 Produced By conference, where he was speaking as part of the panel “Content With a Conscience: Social Impact Entertainment Across All Platforms.”
Jordan received rave reviews in 2009’s “Fruitvale Station,” the film based on real events leading to the death of Oscar Grant, a young black man who was killed by a police officer at the Fruitvale district station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in Oakland. RogertEbert.com called Jordan’s performance “brilliant.”
The “Creed II” actor was responding to a question posed by the moderator and founding partner of the Producers Guild of America Social Entertainment Impact Task Force, Kia Kiso, who asked how he and his production company, Outlier Society Productions, decide to split up the content slate between projects that try to make a social impact vs content made solely for entertainment.
“We try to balance that as much as you can, to run a company where it’s not its entire identity but, at the same time it’s as an important silo and something that we care about,” Jordan said.
Although Jordan didn’t give specifics on the projects coming across his desk or whether he planned to take on any of the roles, Alana Mayo, another panelist and president of development and production at Jordan’s Outlier Society, said the two would continue to make thought-provoking projects until a visible impact is made.
“We struggle with the happy, mindless entertainment that doesn’t feel like it has some sort of substance to it,” Mayo said. “And sometimes we just want to hit an issue that I think the both of us we will continue to make content about until we feel like we start to see the impact and the change in the real world.”
Other panelists that participated in the conversation included Bonnie Abaunza, founder of Abaunza Group; producer, writer, and director Scott Z. Burns; and Shivani Rawat, founder and CEO of ShivHans Pictures.