When Michael B. Jordan appears onscreen in Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four next year, he’ll make history as the first African-American actor to play Marvel’s Human Torch, a character traditionally portrayed as white. He’s also only the second African-American superhero on the big screen in recent years, following Anthony Mackie’s Falcon in this year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
“I knew it was a huge responsibility and weight on my shoulders, but at the same time I looked forward to tackling that challenge and doing great work,” Jordan said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “It’s a reflection of the times we live in right now. It reflects the world that everyone lives in right now. When it did dawn on me, I was very proud to be that guy.”
The full force of the realization came when he first saw himself in costume as Johnny Storm, he explained. “It was during the fittings when I put on the full outfit and looked at myself in the mirror, and I was like, ‘Oh shit. Game on!’ It was like, this is it! This is what it looks like. This is what it feels like. It felt good,” he said. “You can talk about it and discuss it and what not it. But it’s not until you get on set and put on those clothes that you become that person.”
Talking about the movie itself, which also stars Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell, Jordan said that he was “really happy” with it. “I’m really excited for everyone to see a different take on the franchise. It’s a grounded superhero film,” he said, echoing earlier comments this week from Teller. “You really care and get to know the characters a lot. You get a feeling like you’re discovering the characters at the same time they’re discovering themselves.”
Fantastic Four opens Aug. 7, 2015.