Michael B. Jordan Recalls Ryan Coogler Telling Him at Their First Meeting, ‘I Know You’re a Star — Let’s Go Show the World’
Ryan Coogler’s Proximity Media is launching a podcast featuring one-on-one conversations between the production company’s execs and key creative partners — with Coogler sitting down with longtime partner Michael B. Jordan for the first episode.
The “In Proximity” podcast promises listeners a deep dive into the creative process of making movies, TV, music and podcasts, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at Proximity’s projects and future titles. The show premieres with Coogler and Jordan’s episode on Sunday, March 12, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other podcast platforms as well as proximitymedia.com, with new episodes to be released weekly.
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Coogler and Jordan recorded the podcast in an L.A. screening room for “Creed III,” which stars Jordan and marks his directorial debut. The film, which opens nationwide March 3, was co-produced by Proximity and Amazon’s MGM Studios. “We’ve been talking about how we’ve been in proximity with each other for the better part of a decade now, our professional careers,” Coogler says in the premiere episode.
The two first collaborated on “Fruitvale Station,” Coogler’s 2013 debut film that he wrote and directed. Based on a true story, it follows the final 24 hours in the life of a young Black man who is shot and killed by an Oakland police officer. Coogler reveals that he was nervous about the project, with the biggest reason being that the script had been accepted by the Sundance Labs program — but he hadn’t yet shared the screenplay with Jordan or other talent.
“I had made up my mind already I wanted to cast you,” Coogler tells Jordan. “I was just hoping we’d get along a little bit. And I’m fresh out of school, you know, so like, I worked with professional actors but none were really established.”
Jordan responds that he also was nervous about “Fruitvale” but that Coogler “had a certain sense of confidence to you. You know, I trusted what you were saying and I felt comfortable.” Jordan says Coogler told him at their first meeting: “Hey man, look. I wrote this for you. I believe you’re a star, I know you’re a star — let’s go show the world.” Jordan says the interaction “kind of gave me that first initial ‘I belong here’ type of a feeling in the industry.” (Listen to the preview clip below.)
Additional episodes of “In Proximity” will feature pairings including:
Actor-poet Jonathan Majors (who stars in “Creed III”) and Proximity creative executive D’Angelo “D’Lo” Louis (an associate producer on “Creed III”);
Actor, producer and Viva Maude founder Tessa Thompson and Proximity head of television Kalia King;
99% Invisible host-creator and Radiotopia founder Roman Mars and Coogler;
Writer-director Aneesh Chaganty (“Searching,” “Run”) and Proximity founder and writer-producer Sev Ohanian;
Film composer and pianist Kris Bowers and director and Proximity co-founder and head of nonfiction Pete Nicks;
Def Jam Recordings CEO Tunji Balogun and Archie Davis, Def Jam’s chief creative officer and Proximity co-founder and co-head of music; and
Macro founder and CEO Charles D. King and Coogler.
In each episode of “In Proximity,” the Proximity exec and their guest discuss their first collaborations together and the pivotal moments and lessons they each took away within their respective fields, spanning directing, acting, music production, podcasts, and film and TV development.
The series is Proximity Media’s third podcast following “Wakanda Forever: The Official Black Panther Podcast,” written and hosted by Ta-Nehisi Coates and produced in collaboration with Marvel Studios, and the “Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast.”
Proximity head of audio Paola Mardo serves as producer of “In Proximity” and executive produces alongside company founders Coogler, Zinzi Coogler and Ohanian. “We’re building a community of incredible artists and executives at Proximity Media,” Mardo said in a statement. “We’re excited to open up that community to listeners around the world through this podcast.”
The theme song for “In Proximity” is composed by Proximity co-founder Ludwig Göransson. The production team includes sound designer/mix engineer Ken Nana and production assistant Polina Cherezova.
You can hear the series trailer at this link, and listen to “In Proximity’s” premiere episode with Coogler and Jordan below:
Pictured above: Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan at the Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony honoring Jordan on March 1, 2023
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