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Michael B. Jordan couldn’t stop by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert without being asked about Black Panther. The film — which has shattered records and crossed $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office since its February release — is still on everyone’s mind, even Colbert’s, as seen on Tuesday’s episode of his late-night show.
It wasn’t long before Colbert asked Jordan about playing villain Erik Killmonger in the Marvel Studios smash. The host was particularly interested in Jordan’s approach to getting in character. According to the actor, he kept a Killmonger diary to help him prepare.
“I write journals for every character that I have, from the earliest memory up until the first page of the script. For me, it just kind of gives you context,” Jordan said. “For [Killmonger], his was particularly dark. It was a very sad journal, not having his mom growing up, [being] in and out of the system [in] foster care, foster homes and whatnot.”
He went on to say that adopting Killmonger’s mind-set included “a lot of dark stuff,” telling Colbert that it’s “probably not right” to talk about it on his show. “But it was deep and allowed me to go to that place right before a scene,” he added. “It allowed me to lock in.”
While Jordan ceased to elaborate, Colbert joked that he understood. “I understand about not sharing the dark stuff. There are actually some confessions I don’t think are appropriate to tell the audience,” he quipped.
Later, the duo spoke about Jordan’s next project — his upcoming HBO film, Fahrenheit 451, a modern adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s iconic 1953 novel of the same name. During his chat with Colbert, Jordan, who co-produced the movie, explained how he and director Ramin Bahrani updated the narrative to fit into 2018.
“Our adaptation is based around the technology that we have today. [Bradbury] was against media. He was against advertising in the sense of dumb images [and] numbing your senses and not being able to free think, not being able to critical think and problem solve,” he said. “So that’s what he was against.”
Jordan added: “[Bradbury] loved smart shows and television that made you think, so Fahrenheit 451 lies in that realm of thinking.”
Jordan also noted the correlation between Fahrenheit 451 and today’s political climate under President Donald Trump’s administration.
“It’s kind of similar to what we’re going through today. That’s why I thought this project was so important,” he told Colbert. “That’s why I wanted to get involved, because if we don’t start making conscious decisions and asking questions and resisting what we’re constantly being fed, we’re on a slippery slope down the way of where we don’t want to be.”
Fahrenheit 451 premieres May 19 at 8 p.m. ET on HBO.