Michael B. Jordan: ‘Fruitvale Station could not have been released at a more important time’

Actor Michael B. Jordan insists his acclaimed new race drama Fruitvale Station could not have been released at a better time – as America continues to scrutinise the verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder trial. The Sundance Film Festival hit, which is based on the true story of young black Oakland, California father Oscar Grant, who was shot dead by transit cops, was released in the U.S. on the eve of George Zimmerman’s acquittal earlier this month (Jul13).
Both the film and Zimmerman’s freedom have kickstarted a major race relations debate in the U.S. and former The Wire star Jordan is thrilled his new movie has become part of the discussion.
He tells U.S. news show Access Hollywood Live, “It (film release) was eerie timing. It shows that it’s very important, it’s a very timely movie right now that people need to see just to start thinking more about how we value life and how we treat people that we deem different.”
Jordan reveals he has become close with members of Oscar Grant’s family after turning to them to help him research his tragic character in Fruitvale Station.
He explains, “I had a chance to actually spend a lot of time with his mum, with his best friend, with his daughter Tatiana – she’s a beautiful, beautiful young lady – and his girlfriend Sophina.
“That was the hardest part… because we’re asking this family to relive the most tragic moment of their life… (They had to) open up to me and tell me about this guy that’s no longer around.”
Jordan has become a critical darling for his portrayal of Grant and there’s Oscars buzz building, but the actor insists he’s already landed the greatest prize – the praise of his character’s mother.
He adds, “They (family) saw it the first time at Sundance… and she was blown away. I’m very humbled. It has actually helped the family a lot in the grieving process… I’ve had such praise from his mum, it’s a big deal for me.”