Michael B. Jordan On How Kobe Bryant & Daughter Gianna Inspired Creed III Role as a Dad

Michael B. Jordan is opening up about how the late Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna inspired his role as a father in “Creed III.”

In an interview with Indiewire, the actor — who reprises his role as Adonis Creed in the sports drama film — spoke about drawing on real-life father-daughter relationships to become a “girl dad” in “Creed III,” including Kobe and his teenage daughter, who died in a helicopter crash in 2020.

“Muhammad Ali was one of the models for Apollo Creed, and of course, he has a daughter, Layla,” Jordan, 36, said. “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.”

The “Black Panther” star recalled attending a screening for his 2019 drama, “Just Mercy,” which was hosted by Bryant, who also shared daughters Natalia, 20, Bianka, 6, and Capri, 3, with wife Vanessa Bryant.

“We were on the ‘Just Mercy’ tour and Kobe Bryant hosted a screening. And [Jordan’s ‘Just Mercy’ co-star] Jamie Foxx has a strong relationship with his daughter, who was into basketball, she was playing basketball,” Jordan told Indiewire. “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,” said. “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.”

“Creed II” — which marks the directorial debut for Jordan — sees Adonis Creed going head to head against his childhood friend (Jonathan Majors), who resurfaced after years in prison. The film also finds Creed and his wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson) raising their daughter, Amara, who was born deaf.

According to Indiewire, “Creed III” integrates ASL, with Jordan’s scenes with his on-screen daughter (played by Mila Davis-Kent) featuring ASL subtitles. During his interview with the outlet, Jordan opened up about his decision to use ASL for the film’s portrayal of deaf characters.

“It’s great because [the films] evolved that way,” he said. “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.”

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