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Michael B. Jordan was in great shape for "Black Panther," but he changed his routine to "Creed II," the last "Rocky" movie with Sly Stallone.
USA TODAY

NEW YORK – Stars, they're like us. Or at least they try to be.

Michael B. Jordan can no longer walk out the door without being recognized, with his chiselled physique stuck on billboards and bus advertisements. "Creed II" (in cinemas on Wednesday) and his turn to steal scenes as the villain of "Black Panther" Erik Killmonger is still fresh in the minds of the people.

"There are certain places I can not go anymore and certain things I can not do," says Jordan, 31, sighing. "I'm still trying to find things that, at least in my head, make me feel regular, like going to the grocery store, sometimes I want to choose the apple I want to eat, instead of the apple someone gives me."

Sunglasses and baseball caps also do not get fans out of their scent. "I wish I could go with full beard, hooded sweatshirt and shades, but then people might think I'm trying to steal the place, and that's not right," he says. "Or maybe I'm thinking too much."

These are the concerns that occupy his mind when he enters his place in the A list of Hollywood, having proved to be a leading man in the split of the "Rocky" Creed franchise in 2015, which earned almost $ 110 million.

The sequel begins shortly after the events of the first film, with beleaguered boxer Adonis Creed (Jordan) a newly crowned world champion and engaged to his girlfriend musician, Bianca (Tessa Thompson). But a break is formed between him and his gray-haired mentor, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), when Adonis accepts a challenge to fight against the great Ukrainian boxer Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), whose father Ivan (Dolph Lundgren) killed Adonis's father , Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) in 1985 "Rocky IV".

Adonis "is still very hurt by the death of his father, and by reintroducing the Dragos into this, he brought a lot of bad history and memories," says Jordan. "The taste of revenge is in his mouth," and as a result, "he's a little immature, he's emotional and feels humiliated in a real way." The things he experiences in this movie allow him to reassess what's important to him and what is your "why" to fight. "

Having grown up for "Black Panther," Jordan says it was easy to fall back into his "Creed" workout routine, which included intense cardio and boxing training and a stricter, leaner diet (except for the occasional philly cheesesteak in the days of cheating).

To play Killmonger, Jordan "won mass, he was a weapon," says the director of "Creed II" Steven Caple Jr. "But in this movie, he wanted to be at his best moment of all time. as possible when faced with Florian, cut and shredded to look good in the camera, probably the best way I've ever been. "

Emotional bets also increase in this round, as Adonis struggles with the very real possibility that her newborn daughter may inherit Bianca's progressive hearing loss.

Preparing for those scenes was "difficult because I do not have children, so I can only imagine what that would be like, feeling desperate to help her son who is supposed to be there to protect him and can not do anything." nothing about it, "says Jordan, but as someone who" has always thought about fatherhood and having children, it was great to play that role for a while. "

Rocky (Sylvester Stallone, right) reluctantly trains Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) for his confrontation in the ring with Viktor Drago. (Photo: BARRY WETCHER / MGM / WARNER BROS. VIA AP)

Enchanted fans will be happy to know that Jordan is still single, despite the best efforts of the Internet to pair him with his co-star of "Black Panther", Lupita Nyong & # 39; o.("I love her to death," she says, but "people will write their own narratives, I have no control over that")

The actors are in the midst of a serious push for the historic Marvel superhero game, which has amassed $ 1.3 billion worldwide since its launch in February and has destroyed the common Hollywood myth that movies with a predominantly cast Black does not sell tickets abroad.

The phenomenon that surrounds it is "honestly, it's still very difficult to wrap my brain," says Jordan, marveling at the countless memes and halloween costumes for kids Inspired by his character. He attributes the success of "Panther" in large part to his frequent collaborator Ryan Coogler, who "allowed people to see and feel things they would not normally see" in a Marvel film: to incorporate a timely message of building bridges instead of barriers and sparks Deeper conversations about identity and the African diaspora.

Coogler is already working hard on a sequel, "Panther" is trying to win the awards season in the meantime: at GoldDerby.com, the prize experts almost unanimously predict that box office success will win an Oscar nomination at the best movie, with a handful of others waiting for Jordan to get an actor nod as well. If so, his performance would be the first of a superhero movie to win recognition from the Academy, as Heath Ledger's memorable (and Oscar-winning) turn became the Joker in 2008's "The Dark Knight."

"That would mean a lot, man, it would be part of the story and it would be part of my legacy," says Jordan. Growing up in Newark, New Jersey, the son of a food provider and high school counselor, he was not the child who practiced Oscar's speeches in his bathroom mirror: "I never dreamed of that." He was not one of those children. who always knew that he wanted to be an actor. "

In "Black Panther", the sympathetic radical Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) wants to share Wakanda's resources with the world and, in turn, to conquer it. (Photo: MARVEL STUDIOS)

After working as a children's model, he got the key role of Wallace in HBO's "The Wire" at the age of 14. Years of constant television work on ABC's "All My Children" and NBC's "Friday Night Lights" continued, leading to his innovative performance at Coogler's "Fruitvale Station" in 2013, playing Oscar Grant, a victim of gunfire. the police in real life.

"I was still convincing myself that (my big chance) was going to happen, I was still pretending, in the sense that I believe it, I have faith, but there were also many doubts there." Jordan says. "I followed the path and continued working hard knowing that good would come in. I just never knew that I would come so fast and so huge."

Now he hopes to pursue a professional career similar to his idols Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington. He started a production company, Outlier Society Productions, which produced his upcoming drama "Just Mercy" and the Netflix series "Raising Dion", and aims to create more opportunities for people of color.

The charismatic young heartbreaker is also taking a page from Dwayne's Megastar popularity book "The Rock" Johnson, recently telling his Instagram followers that he plans to be more "personal" and share more of his life with them.

"I'm a quiet guy, but you're in this new era where fans want to feel a little closer to you," says Jordan. "So, instead of people making their own assumptions about me, let's help them a little bit and give them more of myself, so they do not have to fill in so many blank spaces."

Contributing: Bryan Alexander

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