'Fruitvale Station' Star Michael B. Jordan Almost Cancels Q&A After Zimmerman Verdict

UPDATE: At a Q&A following a Saturday night screening of Fruitvale Station in LA, star Michael B. Jordan told the audience: “I want to hear your questions tonight and answer them. But if you could keep it away from Trayvon, I think my opinion on that is not going to help anybody right now.” Jordan was there to talk about the acclaimed Sundance and Cannes Film Festival award-winning film about Oscar Grant, the young black man who was killed by a white BART officer in a 2009 New Year’s Eve incident at the Fruitvale Station stop in Oakland. “My heart hurts so bad right now. I wasn’t going to come after I found out about George Zimmerman getting acquitted. It broke me up. That’s why I think this film means so much, because it keeps happening again and again. [We must] learn how to treat each other better and stop judging one another just because we’re different. It’s not just a black and white thing, it’s a people thing. It’s the only way that things are going to take the necessary steps to move in the right direction so things can get better because I don’t think it’s ever gonna stop, but something’s gotta f*****g change.”

Fruitvale Station opened this weekend on seven screens. The Weinstein Company‘s distribution head Erik Lomis said the movie is headed for what may be  a stellar $50,000 per screen first weekend gross putting it the top tier of 2013 specialty openings. He says the company plans to expand it to another 6 markets next weekend and go nationally on July 26th.Jordan, 26, already is getting Oscar buzz for his performance and received a standing ovation. He was emotional talking about the film written and directed by 27-year-old first-time feature  filmmaker Ryan Coogler.  Asked about the reaction of the Grant family to the film, Jordan said they first saw it at its Sundance premiere where it won the Grand Prize as well as Audience Award for narrative films. “At the end of the screening there was a standing ovation which was very humbling. And, during the Q&A, Oscar’s aunt stood up and said, ‘I want to thank you for telling his story. There were certain scenes in the movie where I couldn’t tell the difference you and my nephew’. That was just a huge weight off my shoulders because moving forward that’s all we cared about. One day Oscar’s daughter is going to watch this movie and I just want to make sure we did all we could to put him in the (most realistic) light possible,” he said, adding that he hopes ultimately the movie makes people start thinking about how they can be a better person.

Jordan said about 98% of the film is true because Coogler had access to all the documents pertaining to the case which had nationwide publicity as it unfolded. Names of some of Grant’s friends as well as the officer involved were changed for legal reason because lawsuits are still in progress. The white officer convicted of killing Martin received two years and was released after 11 months. This outcome caused riots among Grant’s supporters.

In answer to one audience member’s question, Jordan said that having been profiled as a black male from Newark helped in playing the role of Grant. “I have been pulled over, illegally searched, handcuffed, sat on the curb numerous times. Driving down the street here in LA I sometimes pull over when I see a cop. Honestly, sometimes those experiences help in playing a role like this. That’s what  I think acting is. What’s relatable you pull from yourself and try to apply to character where it fits.”

  1. Way to insert foot in mouth MB Jordan and alienate half the country from seeing your film. When will actors learn to keep their mouths SHUT

    1. How often has this happened to you: “I have been pulled over, illegally searched, handcuffed, sat on the curb numerous times. Driving down the street here in LA I sometimes pull over when I see a cop……”

      1. How often has this happened to you: “I was home-invaded and locked myself in a closet with my child in fear of my life.”

    2. Do you really think half the county is applauding this verdict? Doubt it. Moreover, why is that some people think entertainers should have up their Constitutional freedoms just because they become famous? If that was true, most of the Conservative punditry should follow Laura Ingrham’s advice and just “shut up.”

    3. Uh, yeah, “Heather” half the country wants to run around shooting black people. I think you got lost on your way to stormFront.

    4. If anything, I’m going to see Fruitvale for sure now. Thank you Michael for giving your thoughts on this. And “Heather”, don’t forget to attend your next Klan meeting.

    5. Stfu! As a black man first and foremost, he can speak on issues that affect the black community! Part of that “f-cking change” means addressing racism in Hollywood as well! The status quo will be abolished.

      1. you shut the fuck up !!! I said actor in this movie could have made a better and bigger impact if movie had not opened right now !!! And all these sorry ass people saying T.M was a skittles carrying child! Puhhhlease ! Before I was a teenager I know how to handle myself and to take responsibility for my own actions! He was old enough to know how to handle himself. It does hurt to lose children to violence.

    6. If the other half of the people in the country see this move, it will be the most successful film of all time.

  2. Can the media allow the justice system do their job. I believe in the judicial system and he was tried by a jury of his piers and as such that should be it. I do not care to see what/how celebrities feel is justice.

    1. It’s called freedom of speech. You, me, even famous people, we all have the right to speak out on what’s important to us. Part of the freedom allows us to say the justice system failed in this case. I believe in the American justice system, as well, but I also know it isn’t perfect and horrible mistakes are made.

    2. So, Zimmerman was tried by a jury of inanimate objects used to dock and unload ships? Seriously, spelling does in fact matter.

      I actual response, however, I must say that the prosecution did an abysmal job of presenting it’s case, but the reason there was even a trial was because Zimmerman thought it was ok to stalk and confront a young boy–even after the police told him not to do so–based on nothing more than his skin color. I would ask, if the break-ins in the area had been perpetrated by white people and Trayvon Marint had been white, would Zimmerman still have been so quick to make the assumption that Trayvon was up to no good? I don’t think so. He would have just assumed that it was another white person who belonged in the neighborhood. Regardless of the verdict, Zimmerman is a racist and a 17 year old boy is dead today because of his racism.

      1. Kacey, spelling does, of course, matter.
        And Grammar does, in fact, matter even more!
        So I don’t understand what you mean when you write

        ‘I actual response, however’

        And, of course, there are some people who are dyslexic.

    3. Judicial system is a joke. Very rare where one side does NOT have the upper hand before the trial even begins.

      What’s as sad as this tragedy is the fact that Zimmerman’s attorney has children and we live in a society where people are willing to defend murderers for $$$.

  3. Well-meaning people keep saying, “We need to make sure this never happens again.” It’s infuriating, because we’ve been saying that for hundreds of years, EVERY TIME this happens. People keep telling blacks to “police your own.” Well, white folks, police *your* own. That mother or uncle you have who’s a racist? Don’t speak to them again. Well, that’s difficult or downright impossible, you say? Life is complicated, you insist?

    How about this one? Instead of Amy Pascal asking to stop making gay jokes in scripts, stop casting Asians, Indians and whomever else is an easy cheap shot as your punch lines. I’m sick of it. You project that hate out there, and it’s usually from geeky screnwriters who are angry at any guy who is doing better than they are, namely with women. You guys haven’t gotten over being shoved into lockers, and you don’t have the courage to go after black guys in your scripts, so you make fun of other minorities. And spineless, talentless execs put their seal of approval on it. And then you decry racism and people who don’t vote for Obama. You’re cowards, all of you.

    1. Thank you. I’m a card-carrying member of the ACLU, and I’m disgusted by the way Hollywood portrays ethnic minorities. Hey, development execs who wish they were above-the-line talent: Have some strength of conviction and take a stand. Stop patting yourself on the back for hosting Obama fundraisers and do something about the racism you project out there and the stereotypes you feed to red states.

    2. Just read that angry comment. It’s indistinguishable in substance from red-faced, screaming, mentally unbalanced racism.

  4. My heart hurts so bad too. I don’t understand the people of Florida. First, there was Casey Anthony and now Zimmerman!!! This would not happen in another state. What are they thinking? All Zimmerman had to do was WAIT for the police like the 911 operator told him to do. Zimmerman should and will live a life of hell on this world. He is and has been a bully the world doesn’t need.

    1. Ever heard of the OJ Simpson case? That happened in the liberal wonderland of CA where obviously white women and Jewish men are sacrificial lambs.

      1. Yeah, “white women and Jewish men are sacrificial lambs,” which is why Rodney King happened in L.A. and Oscar Grant –the subject of Fruitvale station happened in San Francisco.
        Racism is a mental disorder. Get help or at least get off the internet.

        1. Racism comes from all sides…don’t act like it doesn’t. Wake up! Maybe you should get off the internet.

  5. This is such a powerful film and I respect MBJ for honoring his commitment tonight. I was there at the Landmark and all I can say is, I am glad I don’t have to worry about being a young black male in this country. Screw all that talk about ‘”progress” being made with the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. We still suck here in the USA.

  6. My hearrt also hurts so bad. I saw the movie tonight after the verdict. Something’s gotta change. Congrats to cast and crew on an amazing film. Truly amazing.

  7. Micheal Jordan (the actor) seems like a genuine, cool dude. I hope come awards season his name is on many a nomination list for “Fruitvale Station” — including a date with Oscar! As for his heartbroken sentiments after the Zimmerman verdict, I can empathize, my brother. And I, too, shake my head. Why do prosecutors in big name trials seem to get outmaneuvered by bigshot defense attorneys? Happened with OJ (and prosecutor Marcia Clark’s/Chris Darden’s limp effort) Happened here, in Sanford, Fla., too.

  8. “I think my opinion on that is not going to help anybody right now”. Wise words, Mr. Jordan…

    1. And your rampant stupidity isn’t helping anyone either. An awful lot of keyboard kommandos out, hurling racism from behind the anonymity of a computer.

  9. For the sake of Mr. Jordan’s career he needs to stay with original roles and he needs to keep far away from the Fantastic Four reboot. Fanboys will never stop complaining if he’s cast as Johnny Storm.

    1. Dear Michael, Re comment by Coast, please don’t take this silly advice, likely posted by someone else up for the roll…and thank you for your eloquence and authenticity after the screening last night. Your words helped us all.

  10. Actually, he’ll probably live a comfortable life funded by some right-wing think tank/Fox News. He’ll probably skate through life too.

  11. RIP Trayon. My advice to Michael B. Jordan is you could be the next Lou Gossett Jr. or the next Sam Jackson. Lou was known for only one performance Officer and a Gentleman. Be versatile like Sam, do comedy, drama, action, cartoon voice and get paid $$$$.My advice to Ryan Coogler is the Hollywood brass are wondering are you the next Spike, action guy John Singleton or a one hit wonder e.g. James “Buster” Douglas knocking out Tyson and fading into oblivion. RC you’re under the microscope on your second film, shock Hollywood with an idea that has never been touched.

  12. The jury made the right call. I don’t remember seeing or reading any legal analysis (and no, Al Sharpton doesn’t count) that said the state made their case. They knew it, too, which is why at the eleventh hour they wanted to have them consider both manslaughter and 3rd degree murder, too. And, they didn’t make their case because there wasn’t enough evidence to support those charges. Period. I’m surprised the jury took that long to render a verdict, frankly. Now, hopefully, people understand why the police didn’t charge him at first.

    This whole episode has just been an absolute travesty. Both made unfortunate choices that day that led to a confrontation, and one young man is dead because of it. The other has had his life ruined because of the rush to judgment in the aftermath. The media and the usual pot stirrers had him tried and convicted long ago.

    1. Neither you nor anyone else can point to a single ” unfortunate choice” made by Trayvon Martin. The only “choice” he made that night was to go to the store. All other choices were Zimmerman’s. Trayvon was a scared kid who was stalked, then confronted by a depraved, racist, failure of a “man.” who, without any evidence, lumped the scared kind into the big, black category of the presumed-guilty “THEY.” (“THEY always get away.”) The scared kid tried to defend himself against his pursuer, and like all cowards, Zimmerman, when losing the fight that HE instigated by his profiling and stalking, resorted to the use of a weapon. THAT is the reality that you and those of your ilk simply can’t acknowledge. You are frightened by the ugliness of the truth.

  13. In the last article Deadline posted about Fruitvale Station (and its release), I brought up the fact that the timing “interestingly” coincided with the Zimmerman trial and its conclusion. Now, we have an article about the people behind Fruitvale talking about the Zimmerman trial – am I a genius or are the Weinsteins’ marketing people just oh so predictable?

    We all know the answer to that one and I find it very interesting how all those people who held rallies for a dead black kid are not in the least upset about these filmmakers and producers who are exploiting a tragedy to make money with Fruitvale Station.

    1. There’s a fine line between exploiting and having good timing. Even if they decisively planned to release this during the Zimmerman trial, which which they likely did, they’re not exploiting as much as taking this opportunity, with all the open wounds and hearts and feelings and minds ready to think and talk about the issue, to release a film that sorely needs watching. I was in Berkeley when Oscar Grant died and it tore the Bay Area apart. It “kept happening” then too.

  14. You’re an asshole. The guy’s family saw and supported the film. Sometimes, even in this business, people tell stories that need to be heard. You’re an ignorant prick

  15. Zimmerman is this generation’s OJ. It’s a shame. Good on Michael for speaking up.

  16. Here we go…

    Ok. Simple question here. Why do conservatives consider themselves rugged individualists when they are constantly assuming that all conservatives hold the exact same opinion on all social questions or cultural issues, and react as a monolithic mass to every perceived slight?

  17. Lakeview Terrace is a good film. Samuel Jackson gives a strong performance and Will Smith deserves credit for co-producing.

    I would like to see Michael Jordan do a Q&A on that film, especially on the subject of things needing to “f***ing change”.

  18. David, it’s hard to take you or your judicial system seriously when you can’t even spell jury of your “peers” correctly. #gostudy

  19. If you don’t want to see the movie then just admit that. Stop trying to make it seem like this actor was wrong for talking about an issue that is almost epidemic for young black men. Stop. He speaks from personal experience. You can deny all you want but this happens too often. Don’t see the movie. That’s your choice. But please don’t try to use the words of this young man as an excuse. PULEEAZE!

  20. when you take the wrong doing of one law enforcement officer and sensationalize it to the effect where it demonizes law enforcement as the plot in Fruitvale Station, it will have a negative effect. Imagine if you were to do a movie in which Alysan Reda a 72 year old woman stabbedrecently in her driveway by two young black males and left for dead or Joshua Chellewwho was beaten to death by four black teens in Georgia all in just this month alone. Let’s follow Alysan and Joshua around all day going through there daily routines with the intention to make you love them and really identify with them like Fruitvale does with Oscar Grant, then at the very end in a climatic way have them killed brutally by “black people“. You and I know there would be protests to a movie like this as racist and intended to generate hatred towards blacks, but yet you see nothing wrong with doing this toward law enforcement who put their lives on the line everyday to protect others. What about Officers Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworthwho were shot dead just serving a warrant to a black suspect in the murder of another black person, let’s follow them around for a day kissing their children, having coffee and living their lives and then brutally killed by a “black thug” in a climatic ending. What kind of feeling would be engendered against black people if a movie was made like this? Hatred and fear! So what do you think a black youth watching Fruitval Station will think about law enforcement? You are probably a nice lady who thinks movies like this helps but it does not, it hurts. Really think about it. I don’t feel like Oscar should have been shot but think about the shoe on the other foot, think about police who are walking dangerous streets everyday, they are not the enemy. Check out Mexican town where the police have quit and see if you would want to live in a town like that. Let’s show our police some love. Plus the other links to get the full effect of what I am saying.

  21. Stick to what you know. I used to respect this guy before he thought he’s the next revolutionary activist. You’re an actor, stick to performing. They made plenty of rude remarks about white people in the film, but of course that’s okay. Double standard.

  22. Scott, little curious here. You complain that the film has a double standard against white people. When did you see it? At Sundance? A press screening? This weekend in LA? Can’t help but wonder if your little Internet blast might not be coming from a particularly…informed place.

  23. MJ well said but I thank God that I am NOT a young black male. You speak the truth. We have to celebrate differences.

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