Michael B. Jordan stars in HBO's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, but he almost said no to the iconic role, who begins the dystopian novel as a "fireman" burning books, which are illegal in the book's futuristic setting. In a roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter, Jordan explained that he was hesitant to play "an authoritative figure" because of "what's going on in the world with police and my community."
"Being a black man, I didn't want to play somebody who's an oppressor, I just didn't want that in my head," Jordan said, explaining that expanding on the themes of the story changed his mind. He continued, "After sitting down with the director Ramin [Bahrani] and knowing Michael Shannon was going to be a part of it — he's an incredible actor — and understanding the vision and themes and messages he wanted to send through the movie, I was like, 'Okay.'"
He also said the character's lack of demise enticed him. Jordan has died on screen several times, beginning with his role as Wallace on The Wire. A chance to "survive through the third act" was understandably something to look forward to.
"I didn't want the audiences to keep seeing me die in roles," he said. "And my mom, every time I watched her watch me die onscreen, it tore me up. I just wanted to play a role so she could see me win."
Fahrenheit 451 is streaming on HBO now.