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17 Jan 2020 8:03 PM
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Billed as one of the most powerful films to arrive in 2020, Harry Pinero (@harrypinero) sat down with the star of Just Mercy, Michael B. Jordan, and the real-life lawyer he plays Bryan Stevenson. Covering everything from London Culture to why this film is so close to their hearts, this interview gives further insight as to why Just Mercy should be on your must-see movie list this month.

 

Harry Pinero: 

Name one British music artist you’ve been listening to a lot recently.

 

Michael B. Jordan:  

Ella Mai

 

Harry: 

Yeah. She's dope. All right, would you rather only be able to listen to the same song for the rest of your life or only be able to watch the same movie for the rest of your life?

 

Bryan Stevenson:

That's tough, I'd rather listen to the same song and that’s because I want to see more movies with Michael B. Jordan!

 

Harry:

I have a personal question for Michael; you're a big anime fan like myself. Okay, name your favorite anime and if an anime character can represent you, which one is it?

 

Michael B. Jordan:

Man.... I'm gonna say Naruto.

 

Harry:

Of course, I was waiting for you to say that!

 

Michael B. Jordan: 

And a character that represents me? I'm gonna say Rock Lee.

 

Harry: 

Rock Lee without the weights or with the weights?

 

Michael B. Jordan:

Without.

 

Harry: 

Could you share the best piece of advice you've ever received?

 

Bryan Stevenson: 

The best piece of advice we actually use it in the film. And it was given to me when I was young. I had other people give it to me when I was older and well actually Michael says it in the film. It's that:

 "Sometimes you have to stand up when people say sit down".  And sometimes you have to speak when people say be quiet".

And we have this tendency to kind of just do what other people are doing. Actually, Rosa Parks taught me this. We were at this graduation and she believes that when you sing ‘We Shall Overcome’, you have to stand up. It was like 10,000 people in this auditorium. They were giving her an honorary degree and I was going with her. And they started playing ‘We Shall Overcome’ and people sat down and she was so smooth, she winked at me and she stood up. Then when she stood up, everyone else did. You know, that's something that I've never forgotten. You can't just do what everybody else is doing. Especially if what they're doing is not the right thing to do. And that continues to inform how I think about stuff.

 

Michael B. Jordan:

That's funny. She was like watch this!

 

Harry:

Okay, Michael, what's your favorite thing about London?

 

Michael B. Jordan:

London man I have an amazing time every time I come to London. I have not missed out yet. I think the overall culture, the feels, diversity. The food is amazing here. 

 

Harry: 

 

It is? Really? That's new!

 

Michael B. Jordan: 

It's a melting pot here. It's like another New York. Coming from the states, you know our taste buds are different. But you can appreciate the different cuisine you have over here in London. You know, I'm not saying I'm ordering an English breakfast all the time. You have good Jamaican and West Indian culture here, you know what I’m sayin’! [Laughs] 

 

Harry: 

All right. Name three people you admire dead or alive.

 

Bryan Stevenson: 

Dead or Alive? Hmmm… Ida B Wells, W.E.B Du Bois and Frederick Douglass.

 

Harry:

I'm going to Google all of those people because I don't know who they are, but they probably good people. 

 

[Bryan and Michael Laugh]

 

Michael, would you rather be able to see your own future or be able to see everyone's future but your own?

 

Michael B. Jordan:

That's a great question!

 

Harry:

See? 

[Michael Laughs] 

 

Michael B. Jordan:

I think I would see everybody else's future but my own.

 

Harry:

And why is that?

 

Michael B. Jordan:

I feel like I'll be more satisfied that way. I feel like the surprise factor for myself to be able to not know what was coming and be able to just to know the spontaneity of that. I would want to hold on to that. And, if I could help lead other people, the masses out of certain pitfalls and situations by being able to see their future I can help them be better versions of themselves.

Harry:

All right now, we've only got two questions left. So I'm going to split these two questions for both of you.

 

Name one album that you feel would be the perfect soundtrack for Just Mercy.

 

Bryan Stevenson: 

I'm gonna go old school, I know that I'd say ‘Innervisions’ by Stevie Wonder. Why did I pick that one? It's a brilliant album. And I mean, he has songs in there that speak both to the struggle. So you take a song like ‘Living for the City’, which tells a story about what happens as a criminal justice thing. You talk about songs like ‘All is Fair in Love’ and ‘Don't You Worry About a Thing’. These are classics, but they have this spirit of resisting, inequality, and injustice that defines what we're trying to do in Just Mercy.

 

Michael B. Jordan:

I will say Kendrick Lamar.

 

Harry:

Yeah, there’s a lot of songs in there.

 

So what does Just Mercy mean to you? What did you go through as the film was being made?

 

Bryan Stevenson:   

It's really about this idea that we're all more than the worst thing we've ever done and that we actually have to affirm the basic human rights and dignity of every person. Ultimately, we're not going to be judged in America, or any place on the planet by looking at how well we treat powerful people, privileged people, celebrated people, that tends to be our tendency. I think we're going to be judged by how we treat the poor and incarcerated, the condemned and when you treat them unfairly, which is what the Just Mercy story reveals, there's work to be done. And it's just about affirming basic human rights and human dignity and how that's a reflection of all of us, not just those people who are being mistreated.

 

Harry:

Okay Michael, what was it about the film that made you want to be involved in it? Because you're very selective with the roles that you choose. So what was it about this film that made you say, I want to be part of it?

 

Michael B. Jordan:

Bryan Stevenson. I think getting to know him over these past four or five years had been a true honor and a gift for me as a person and as a storyteller. I think I've grown tremendously over these past years. Just the work that he's doing now, the man that he is, it needs to be celebrated and the fact that I can use my platform to help put him out there is a true gift.

 

Just Mercy in theaters everywhere in the UK from Friday, 17th of January 2020.

IMAGE CREDIT: John Parra / Getty Images for CNN/ John Parra / JAKE GILES NETTER/ 

Author: Elizabeth Edouard

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