Creed III, the third installment of the film franchise, opens in theaters on March 3, 2023, and you can read MomsLA’s review of Creed III here.
The cast, writers, and producers sat down for a press conference recently to promote the film’s opening and talk about what it meant for them to work on it together.
In addition to Michael B. Jordan, who plays the character of Adonis Creed (and was also the film’s director), actors Tessa Thompson (Bianca Creed), Mil Davis-Kent (Amara Creed), Jonathan Majors (Damian Anderson), Wood Harris (Tony “Little Duke” Burton), and Selenis Leyva (Laura Chavez), were there, as well as writers Keenan Coogler and Zach Baylin, and producer Ryan Coogler.
For a lively 45 minutes, in front of an audience of journalists and movie writers on Zoom and in person, the team answered questions and shared stories about working on the film – and much more.
The 8 Best Moments – and Quotes – From the Press Conference
1. Ryan Coogler Showed Michael B. Jordan What was Possible
The two first worked together on Fruitvale Station in 2013, and it was a profound thing for Jordan. “I was in awe of what he was doing. To see a Black man, my age, that I knew well, commanding a set like that, that was inspirational,” Jordan said.
Cut to: years later, after making Creed and Creed II, and Jordan said he felt he knew that Creed III was the right movie for him to “step behind the camera” and start directing.
2. The Mentors Michael B. Jordan Chose as a First-time Director
Directors face hundreds of challenges when making movies, from knowing how to choregraph action to camera placement, and all points in between. But some directors have a tougher time than others, like when they’re working on their very first film, or working with an established franchise or sequel, or, for example, when they’ve chosen to star in the film as well – thereby needing to direct themselves.
Michael B. Jordan gave himself all those challenges and more when he chose to direct Creed III.
So, like his character Adonis, who gets help from mentors and trainers when preparing for a fight, Jordan turned to wise mentors for advice about directing, especially to actors who’ve directed themselves as actors.
“I really wanted to talk to Actor-Directors, knowing that would be a big challenge for me,” Jordan said, so he turned to ”… Jon Favreau, Bradley Cooper, and Denzel Washington” for the advice only they could give.
Nonetheless, being a first-time director was still a challenge for Jordan (as it is for everyone!) He said, “There was nothing anybody could have told me that would have prepared me for what the journey was going to be like. You just have to live it and get through it.”
“It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do so far, and at the same time I felt the most alive while doing it,” said Jordan.
Luckily for us movie-goers, he got through the journey with flying colors; Creed III is a terrific first effort and is surely only the beginning of a great directing career. (Fingers crossed!)
3. Tessa Thompson is a Deep Thinker (and Awesome Actress)
When asked about working on the Creed movies over the past 9 years, Thompson spoke about the way that both her character and Jordan’s have grown in similar ways to their own off-screen growth as artists.
“I’m fascinated that the ways in which our personal growth as people gets to be communicated inside of the characters [in the films], and that’s a unique thing. Some of the things our characters are contending with, and some of the things Mike and I are contending with personally, we get to explore in the context of these films,” said Thompson.
Thompson went on to say, “I think that’s really a gift. You’re always hoping to get to work on films that also task you to ask questions of yourself.”
4. Jonathan Majors Helped to Shape the Character of Damian Anderson
Jonathan Majors asked the writers and producers if he could change his character’s last name to Anderson – and they agreed – because it was personal to him; Anderson was his Mother’s last name. He said he was grateful for that because it helped him make a stronger connection to his character.
Majors also saw deep themes in the script and used them to help create his character. “There was an ancient quality that was put in by the ‘homies’ [the writers], which was this aspiration for freedom,” he said. “And not just physical freedom, but mental freedom.”
“Second to that was ‘brotherhood’ and that becomes paramount in the story, because that connects my character to the hero,” Majors said.
5. Mila Davis-Kent is a Natural at Boxing – and it’s Fun!
Mila Davis-Kent, who plays Amara Creed, shows impressive boxing skills in the movie, when her father Adonis lets her hit the bag at the gym as part of some father-daughter bonding time. But when asked if she had spent any time boxing before being cast in the role, she said no.
“Prior to the film I didn’t have any experience boxing and I wasn’t really interested in it,” said Davis-Kent, through an interpreter. “But I got to train for the film, and after I started doing it, I realized that boxing is a lot of fun.”
6. Why Didn’t We all Listen to Duke?
When Wood Harris, who plays Duke in the movies, was asked about the fact that, in Creed III, Duke seems to know exactly how the story is going to play out before it does – and why does he seem to know how things will turn out when the rest of the characters don’t?
“It’s the gray hairs,” said Harris. “Wis-dom.”
7. Felix’s Mom is Fierce
Selenis Leyva (Laura Chavez) noted the outsize role women played in what could have been (and is often) a male-dominated genre.
“When people think about a boxing film, they think about the male, and the power of the man, but the power of the women also exists in this film, with Bianca, and Amara, and Laura. I love that it’s well-rounded, with powerful Black and Brown people doing their thing.”
8. Keenan Coogler Acts Just like You Think a Little Brother Would
When asked about what it’s been like to go from seeing his older brother write the first Creed movie script, when he was an unknown, to now having written this third script himself, Keenan Coogler told a story that only a younger brother could, while possibly embarrassing his older brother Ryan? (Only Ryan Coogler knows for sure.)
“I used to make fun of him [Ryan] because I thought he was making the whole thing up,” said Keenan Coogler. “We shared a room at the time, at my parents’ house, and he was working on the script from an idea in his head. He would talk about it, and then he would go out and have these telephone conversations with [air quotes] ‘Sylvester Stallone’. And I thought he was making the entire thing up,” said Coogler. “No way would Stallone even answer that phone call.” Or so he thought.
Big brother gets the last laugh this time.
Creed III opens in theaters on March 3, 2023, and you can read our review.
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Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder and Managing Editor of MomsLA.com.