Probably because Oprah Winfrey is everyone’s therapist, actor Michael B. Jordan opened up to her about the real-life therapy he sought to overcome the solitude he felt after portraying Erik Killmonger in the Best Picture-nominated Black Panther. She also got the goods on his Superman status, because, well, she’s Oprah.
While taping segments for her OWN show and podcast at "Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations From Times Square" event in New York on Tuesday, Jordan discussed (via USA Today) the emotional toll of playing Killmonger, who represents “an extreme, exaggerated version of the African diaspora from the African-American perspective,” and all the pain, rage, and isolation that “represents from being black and brown here in America.”
Jordan told Oprah that he didn't necessarily “have a process” for portraying Killmonger, and just did whatever he felt was necessary in the moment. But he “didn't have an escape plan, either.”
After the cameras stopped rolling, Jordan told Oprah that Killmonger’s “mind state” caught up with him. And so he sought therapy to undo the isolation he felt, to readjust “to people caring about” him, and loving him.
"I shut out love, I didn't want love. I wanted to be in this lonely place as long as I could,” he said. “Honestly, therapy, just talking to somebody just helped me out a lot. As a man you get a lot of slack for it. … I don’t really subscribe to that. Everyone needs to unpack and talk.”
While Jordan is seemingly happily talking to people again these days, he’s not exactly talking freely about the scattered rumors swirling about him possibly playing Superman, as he was coy to answer Oprah's initial line of questioning. But he did open up a little.
“Just being under that microscope of being picked apart and compared to so many different versions of Superman, I would rather do something original,” he told Oprah (via Oprah Magazine). While that sounds like bad news for hopeful fans, he did mention that he might consider playing Calvin Ellis — another version of Superman who debuted in Final Crisis #7, a Black Kryptonian who also becomes president of the United States on a different Earth in the Multiverse — since it might be easier for “comic book purists” to swallow.
Jordan can currently be seen in the starring role of Rooster Teeth's mecha anime, Gen:LOCK. Oprah can of course be seen everywhere else