Michael B. Jordan Admits He Wasn’t Interested in ‘Fahrenheit 451’ at First — ‘I Didn’t Want to Play Someone Who Was an Oppressor’

Michael B. Jordan is one of the most promising young actors in the movie business. He’s been a part of several very successful films, including 2018’s billion-dollar blockbuster, Black Panther.

Jordan is known for starring in various roles, but he isn’t always interested in every role that crosses his path. He even revealed in a past interview that he initially wasn’t interested in his Fahrenheit 451 role. 

Michael B. Jordan wasn’t feeling ‘Fahrenheit 451’

Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan participates in the Hollywood talent agencies march | Rich Fury/Getty Images

Even though Jordan ended up signing on as both an actor and executive producer with Fahrenheit 451, he initially wasn’t into the role. Jordan felt conflicted because he didn’t feel like the character would be a positive representation of his community, he told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I wasn’t interested in playing an authoritative figure,” Jordan said. “You know, what was going on in the world, with like police, and like, my community, you know, being a Black man. I didn’t want to play someone who was an oppressor. I just didn’t want that, in my head. It’s just something that I wasn’t interested in doing. Playing, you know, a firefighter that was going around, you know, burning books, and you know, just kind of that character for me just didn’t sit right. Because I played, you know, Oscar Grant, and I was playing characters that meant so much to my community at that time.”

Michael B. Jordan’s director convinced him to sign on

Jordan’s reluctance to sign on for the role continued until he met up with the film’s director, Ramin Bahrani. According to Jordan, once he found out Michael Shannon was involved and learned more about the film’s purpose, his mind started to change. 

“After sitting down with the director, Ramin, and knowing Michael Shannon was going to be a part of it—I think he’s an incredible actor,” Jordan said. “And understanding the vision, and the kinds of themes and messages that he wanted to kinda send to the movie. And at that time I hadn’t read the book, either. I hadn’t read the book, and it wasn’t on my high school reading list. So um, I went and read through the book and kinda really understood what Bradbury was trying to say, and I was like, ‘Okay.’”

Michael B. Jordan’s mother influenced his decision

Jordan also revealed that he decided to switch things up to appease his mother. In several of his most prominent roles, including Black Panther, Fruitvale Station, and The Wire, he dies on screen, which he felt was becoming a problem. 

“Yeah, and then also, to Jason’s point, wanting to be a leading man, I didn’t want the audiences and people to keep seeing me die in roles,” Jordan said. “I wanted to survive through the third act, you know? I couldn’t keep playing that role, and yeah, my mom, you know, being able to, for her, just every time I watched her watch me dying on screen, it tore me up as I got older, she would just weep.”

Jordan ended up starring in Fahrenheit 451, although the movie was not well-received by critics and viewers.