Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors on ‘Creed III’

Jonathan, how do you go from wanting to take his head off to letting him give you notes?

MAJORS It’s a great deal of gamesmanship because that’s respect. Like, “I’m going to hit you hard and you’re going to hit me hard, and if you don’t hit me hard, we will no longer be friends.” There’s an agreement. There were days we were fighting, and the last two hours, I could not feel my arms. I never said it to him.

JORDAN Now is the first time I’m hearing this.

MAJORS I would look over at him like, “I’m doing this for you now. I’m doing this for us.”

JORDAN My biggest thing was just gaining his trust. I’m the director, so with certain things, I got to get options. That may not necessarily be us swinging as hard as we have to swing, and he has to trust and not think, “Wait, is he trying to trick me and set me up?” But those are mental gymnastics that I might have been doing on my own, driving myself crazy.

MAJORS No, I think we were both doing that. It’s a unique dynamic because we crafted things together, but then when we got going, I played it like I’m your leading man: “You’re the director, and there is a ghost leading man around here that looks a lot like you. But when he’s not here, I’m the leading man.” Talking to me as a director to an actor, I watched you gain confidence. He learned very quickly [that] if you softball it, I’m not taking it, but tell me what it is you want me to do, and I won’t even question it. I described him as a cutman: He literally was like, “Here’s your nutritionist, here’s the gym, here’s who you’re going to fight. Go, and I’ll see you on the day.” All right, wicked.

So what did you do to build Damian up in the meantime?

MAJORS The psychology of a character manifests itself in the body, and the amount of body language that Damian demanded was so great because of the context. I’m playing someone that’s connected to Adonis. We’ve got probably four and a half hours worth of Adonis Creed in the world that everybody has seen, and I’ve got to be as dense as those four hours up until this film to make it seem like we’re actually a part of each other’s lives. The way [Damian] walks, the way he fights, I was trying to give as much information as possible. And then the idea of him being a world heavyweight champion who had been incarcerated, the characterization of all of that, I completely changed my wardrobe playing that guy. These guys don’t show their bodies, and as I began to train, my clothes got bigger and bigger.

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