Michael B Jordon, "young creed and "getting KO'd for real! But he got up and did it again! That's called guts!! pic.twitter.com/yFo3PVmvhA
— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) December 9, 2015
Michael Jordan has earned rave reviews for his star turn in Creed, in which he plays Rocky Balboa’s prodigy and the son of Apollo Creed (as if you haven’t seen it yet.)
That’s no surprise to us—he is, after all, the star of our December 2015 issue. But while we knew all about his brutal physical training regimen, we didn’t realize just how seriously he took the punching aspect of the movie until, well, we watched him take this punch.
“The first couple times we tried to do (the punches in the scene), we tried to it with the slips,” Jordan told Bill Simmons on the sportswriter’s podcast. (The hourlong interview is worth a listen, as Jordan talks about bonding with Carl Weathers and Sylvester Stallone, past gigs on The Wire, Friday Night Lights, and starring in a rom-com alongside Jennifer Lawrence.)
“[The shot is] slow motion, so you can see the misses, the space between the punches. So, all of a sudden, you just hear this snickering from the corner, and everybody’s like ‘What?’ And Sly’s like, ‘Man you gotta take it.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean?’ He’s like, ‘No, you gotta take a real punch.’ Like, pretty much, I had to really get hit.”
Seriously: Jordan sells that knockout so well, we watched that clip about a dozen times to see if he moves after hitting the canvas. (And would you look at that: Nike even puts the Swoosh on the soles of boxing shoes!)
Jordan’s acting paid off: Creed knocked out critics and audiences alike, garnering a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes (audiences gave it a 95%) and raking in a solid $42.6 million over Thanksgiving weekend, the tenth-largest movie opening of all time.
Stallone hasn’t been doing too badly either, garnering a Golden Globe nomination for his reprisal as the Italian Stallion. He’s up against Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), and Michael Shannon (99 Homes).
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