How Kobe Bryant and Muhammad Ali influenced ‘Creed III’
Michael B. Jordan explains how Bryant and Ali influenced the way he wrote ‘Creed III’.
In a recent interview, Michael B. Jordan explored the way famous father figures influenced how he approached Adonis in the upcoming film ‘Creed III’.
Making his directorial debut, Jordan was mindful of the way he both acted and portrayed his character, citing the influence of famous father figures, the late Kobe Bryant and Muhammad Ali, and their relationships with their children.
The influence of fathers Muhammad Ali and Kobe Bryant
“Muhammad Ali was one of the models for Apollo Creed, and of course, he has a daughter, Layla. So that was something that was stirring around in my head, how to make it fresh and different, and I kind of knew at the end of ‘Creed’ that I wanted to have a daughter,” Jordan said to IndieWire.
Jordan’s character Adonis has a daughter, Amara, who was born during the events of ‘Creed II’. She was born with a progressive hearing disorder inherited from Adonis’ wife, Bianca.
At the end of the film, Adonis has a touching moment where he takes his daughter to visit his father Apollo’s grave. He then tells Amara the story of his father, who was a heavyweight boxing champion and Rocky Balboa’s greatest opponent.
Aside from Ali, Kobe Bryant’s relationship with his daughter also inspired Jordan.
“We were on the Just Mercy tour and Kobe Bryant hosted a screening. And [costar] Jamie Foxx has a strong relationship with his daughter, who was into basketball, she was playing basketball,” he explained.
“And Kobe’s sitting there talking about Gianna and basketball and the Mamba Academy and everything. I just remember stepping out of myself for a second, and I’m looking at these guys that I have real admiration for and hearing them talk about their daughters.
“I was like, ‘Man, I’m pulling from all of this right now for the movie.’ I wanted to honor these kinds of relationships and what it means to be a girl dad,” Jordan added.
Inclusion of ASL in the upcoming film
Adding to the strong father-daughter relationship themes of ‘Creed III’, Jordan says he was excited to include ASL for the characters of Bianca and Amara. Amara’s actress, Mila Davis-Kent is deaf in real life, and her character will show a growing interest in boxing, fostered by her father.
“We have English. We have Spanish. We have ASL. And then we have the fighting language we explore [in the final fight],” said Jordan.
“It’s great because [the films] evolved that way, I had the ability to really just drop them in this world and see how the ASL family is living and let the audience go for a ride.”
‘Creed III’ comes out in theaters on Friday, March 4.