Michael B. Jordan‘s new film “Just Mercy” will be in theaters next month. In it, he plays Bryan Stevenson, an Alabama-based lawyer, social justice activist and the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.
On Wednesday, during an interview on “Good Morning America,” Jordan talked about how to make film sets more inclusive and the importance of people speaking up about it.
“Just Mercy” follows the real-life story of Stevenson taking on the case of death row inmate Walter McMillian, played by Jamie Foxx.
In 1987 McMillian was arrested after a white woman was killed in Monroeville, Alabama. And after being convicted, although innocent, he was sentenced to death. Stevenson took on his appeal case, and McMillian was exonerated in 1993.
Jordan spoke about the film during his “Good Morning America” visit and said he felt “intimidated” playing Stevenson because of all the important work he’s done.
“He’s so passionate and he’s dedicated his entire life to this amazing cause,” said the actor. “And I wanted to just make him proud. He also motivated me to put this movie together and also continue his work and continue his message outside of the movie because I think it’s extremely important today.”
Jordan also talked about the film having an inclusion rider, a contractual agreement that says film sets have to be diverse in terms of race and gender.
“I think it’s time, honestly,” Jordan explained. “The voice of the people is extremely powerful. The people have spoken is something that goes back since forever, and I think if we collectively continue to demand answers from these somewhat biased systems that we’ll start to see a change.”
“Thankfully, Warner Bros. ran towards the idea of the inclusion rider,” he added. “They adopted it with this movie, but also Warner Media and all of their companies under their umbrella also adopted that inclusion act.”
“So we had a chance to help write the language, so now they hold their companies to a certain standard with that inclusion rider, and I think that’s extremely important,” said the actor. “It’s a step. We have a lot of steps to go and a lot more road to walk [but there’s progress].”
“Just Mercy” will be in theaters on Jan. 10.