The Sundance Film Festival may be wrapping up this weekend, but some of its best movies are just beginning their hype-cycle. One such film that was especially popular was Fruitvale, about the slaying of 22-year old Oscar Grant by a police officer at the Fruitvale BART station in California in the early hours of New Years Day 2009. The event sparked major outcry across the nation, as the many onlookers to and cell-phone videos taken of the shooting support the fact that while it’s unclear whether or not Oscar was resisting arrest, it’s clear that he wasn’t placing the officers in a position where deadly force was required. He was shot in the back while lying on the ground on his stomach, handcuffed. It’s a visceral video, and one that apparently spoke to writer and director Ryan Coogler, who was drawn to make a movie about it. The film details the lead-up to Oscar’s untimely death — his interactions with friends, family, and loved ones in the last hours of 2008 and the first hours of 2009, and stars Michael B. Jordan, who is alllllready getting Oscar-buzz for his superb (I’m assuming, because I haven’t seen it) acting work.
So who is this guy, huh? Wouldn’t it be nice to get to know him before the Oscars come around again in 2014 and you’re just as unprepared for them as you are for the ones that are coming up in February? I think it would. So to that end, here are 5 Facts About Michael B. Jordan…who is definitely not the basketball one, so don’t get it twisted:
- He was named after his father, not Michael Jordan the sportsman. As proof, his middle name is Bakari, not ‘Chicagobull’ like the other Michael Jordan. Oh I’m sorry, I’m being informed via the earpiece that all bloggers wear that his middle name is ‘Jeffrey’, not ‘Chicagobull’. My apologies.
- You might recognize him for his work on The Wire, where he did a 13-episode run as the drug-dealer Wallace.
- He was born in California, grew up in New Jersey, owned an apartment in Austin, Texas during his tenure on Friday Night Lights, and currently lives in Los Angeles. Although he says it doesn’t measure up to New York. Boom.
- Since no video exists of Oscar Grant in his daily life, Michael roamed the Bay Area and spent time with Oscar’s family to learn about him. It was important to him that he not feel he was doing an imitation, and he must’ve done a pretty good job, because he said that at Sundance, after seeing the movie, Oscar’s aunt said, “You know, Mike, there were certain times in the movie where I couldn’t tell Oscar from you.” High praise.
- And finally…Michael took tap-dancing when he was a kid. He was figuring out what he wanted to do with his life at age 11, and tap-dancing was one of the things his mom made him try.
And there you have it! Every single fact there is to know about Michael B. Jordan. All five of them. We didn’t miss a single single one. You’re welcome.
(Image: Nikki Nelson / WENN.com)