Actors ISSA RAE and MICHAEL B. JORDAN interview each other for the 2018 ACTORS On ACTORS Issue of VARIETY Magazine!!!
Here are a few interview interludes:
Issa Rae: So I saw “Fahrenheit 451.” It was dope. It felt mad timely. Why did you feel like you wanted to take that on right now?
Michael B. Jordan: It felt spot-on to what was going on in the world, and it was the perfect vehicle for that message to pay attention to what’s going on. Not being so plugged in and distracted by what’s on your iPhone, the apps, the social media. Are you just constantly being fed not your own thoughts?
Rae: I agree. It just felt too close to home because I’m doing a little social-media cleanse right now. And I realized, oh, I’m only kind of ingesting the thoughts of other people, and I couldn’t remember the last time I formulated my own opinion. How often do you think about who is watching, and do you really think you’re changing people’s minds? Because it always feels like preaching to the choir, in a way.
Jordan: I think it’s almost preaching to the choir. But I do feel like whenever you read a comment, or you run into somebody in the street and they actually say how much this project or this character meant to them or it changed the way they thought — those little moments encourage me. The messages that we’re sending out there through our work are really affecting people. I think that’s the home run.
Rae: Even just talking about the audience perspective, it’s so weird being on HBO and thinking about creating something for a specific audience. I was like, oh, I’m making a show about me and my friends. So having people come up to you on the street and be like, “Oh yeah, I identify with your character” — that’s been the weirdest thing. A couple months ago, this guy tweeted me about how much he loves “Insecure,” and he was this white guy wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. My first instinct was to be like, “No. Not for you.” But then I started thinking about, what if watching this is changing his mind in a way? So I realized the platform that I have.
Jordan: I think it’s a constant chipping away. I think over time the stereotype that we don’t travel overseas or we’re not bankable — it’s almost like it was a false truth that people just kind of adopted and started to believe. So now that we’re actually creating fresh stories that aren’t the stereotypes, you’re inspiring a new wave of filmmaker, a new wave of director, a new wave of writer that the next generation may not have ever thought about as a possibility. So I think it’s a good time to deposit back and support the culture.