“Fruitvale Station” doesn’t just give actor Michael B. Jordan (“Chronicle”) his first major starring role in a motion picture, it tells the incredible true-life story of Oscar Grant, a young man who was shot on New Year’s Eve 2009 during a chaotic altercation with the police.
Far from an indictment of either the troubled young man or the cops that killed him, writer-director Ryan Coogler’s docudrama takes a sensitive look at Grant’s life in the 12 hours prior to his death, and the circumstances that led up to that fateful confrontation. The weight of which Jordan acknowledged was both a privilege and a responsibility to explore.
“Actors, we wait around for the opportunity to show what you can do,” Jordan told MTV News’ Josh Horowitz. “Especially a movie piece that you really care about that you can put your heart into. And for this one, I remember when it happened. I remember watching it and feeling all types of emotions — upset, angry, frustrated, helpless. I felt like I wanted to do something to help.
“So four years later when Ryan Coogler wrote the script, and the opportunity came up for me to play this role, I just felt a certain responsibility to play it,” he said.
Jordan’s other credits include “Red Tails” as well as TV’s “Friday Night Lights” and “The Wire.” After working on projects with large ensembles, he was happy to get a chance to be at the top of a cast list. “Every actor wants to be No. 1 on the call sheet at some point,” he admitted. “But to get that work load, it’s like, oh man, this is what I’ve got to do? But you’ve got to embrace it and it’s something you hope and you wait for.”
“Fruitvale Station” opens in theaters July 12.