‘Creed III’ Press Conference: Family, The Past, and Potential

Check out our inside look at what the cast and creatives of MGM's 'Creed III' had to say before it hits theaters March 3.
Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed

In Creed III, Creed returns for one final fight against an old friend! After making his way to the top of the boxing world, successfully retiring and caring for his family, Adonis Creed’s life is suddenly changed by the return of a friend and boxing prodigy, Damian “Dame” Anderson. A heated tension between the two former brothers-in-spirit begins to form, launching Creed into an exploration of his past that could change his career forever in

The cast and creative teams behind the movie, seen below, recently held a press conference to talk about the upcoming release:

  • Michael B. Jordan (Adonis Creed), Jonathan Majors (Damian Anderson), Tessa Thompson (Bianca Taylor), Mila Davis-Kent (Amara Creed), Selenis Layva (Laura Chavez), Wood Harris (Tony “Little Duke” Burton)
  • Ryan Coogler (producer), Keenan Coogler (screenwriter), Zach Baylin (screenwriter)

Check out our coverage of this press conference down below and see our review for the movie here!

Throughout the Creed franchise, Jordan never truly got the opportunity to direct his own film. Opening up about his introduction to becoming a director, with the help of Ryan Coogler, Jordan had this to say.

You know, I think for [Ryan Coogler], him telling me, like, “Mike, you can do this too,” was when that first seed got planted in my head of, like, okay, maybe I could direct one day. I didn’t know what it was gonna be. I didn’t know what movie I was gonna step behind the camera on. But as, you know, we did Creed, and, you know, Creed II came along. [Steven Caple Jr.] jumped into the director’s chair and had that experience. And as we kinda grew, the third one just seemed like it was the perfect time for me to step behind the camera and from, you know, internally with myself or Winkler being, you know, another one as well.

It was one of those things you just have to, you got to live it and get through it. And [laugh] the hardest thing I’ve had to do so far. But at the same time, I felt the most alive doing it, so it was rewarding.

Michael B. Jordan

When being asked about returning to the director’s chair in the future, Jordan nodded at the potential he has being a director.

I think so. I think so. I can say that. Yeah, for sure.

Michael B. Jordan

Creed III‘s visual style is particularly interesting due to Jordan’s integration of anime influences throughout the film. When asked about implementing his own influence on the visuals, Jordan had this to say.

I think something, first time, you know, directing, or you’re in your head thinking about, all right, what’s your style gonna be? You know, you overthink yourself going into it. You know, trying to create your own visual language.

I think something that, you know, you start to realize is that it’s just showing up and being honest every day, and then slowly your style will start to shape itself. You know, I can’t even tell you what it is right now. But at the movies, you know, done and finished with, I think that is a representation of just my truth… I start to, like, you know, put it together, you know. With Kramer Morgenthau, my DP who, you know, it’s our third film that we’ve worked together. He understands the vision what I’m trying to accomplish.

About 70 percent of [the movie I could cover anime influences in a director’s commentary.]

Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan and Kramer Morgenthau
Director Michael B. Jordan and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau. Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Jonathan Majors’ debut to the Creed series as Damian Anderson is incredibly impactful as his character is heavily driven by his fiery personality and his troubled past. I was able to ask Majors about the things that helped establish Damian as a character and driving force for the movie.

In a nutshell, first and foremost, it was my stepfather. My stepdad was locked up 15 years before he got with my mom and then raised me up. The ankle monitor situation, the PO. You know, there’s a box at the house. I was the kid that was, like, trying to make sure Dad got home on time, you know, before the parole officer got to the crib. You know, I watched that happen… My stepdad also, yeah, Joe, I’m gonna say his name, he tried out for the Dallas Cowboys. I’m from Dallas. And he almost made it to the Cowboys. He was in the second round, right? I watched that aspiration, I watched that dream that he had. There’s a big part about that. That big, hard shell. You know, that young boy in it that had the aspirations to be more, to be free.

And then we have the brother, [Ryan Coogler]’s best friend, Delo [phonetic], who was essentially my, just, touchstone. You know, he actually experienced very much the life that Dame had experienced. I got pictures of Delo standing, you know what I mean? And how he stood. There’s a certain decorum to the lifestyle that Delo just had. Still had. Walked with it. Talked with it. But it was very clear to me that the only thing that was really important was who Adonis was in this third installment and how to antagonize this character. So I studied Adonis, and I studied Mike and I saw everything. I saw his values and so, the film was our relational for Dame. Dame lives and dies on his relationship with Adonis Creed. Everything else is set decoration, it’s all about him.

Jonathan Majors
Jonathan Majors as Damian Anderson
Jonathan Majors as Damian Anderson. Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Tessa Thompson’s role as Bianca Taylor is more impactful this time around, given her new familial circumstances as well as the return of Creed’s old friend. Here, Thompson describes her character development shift with Creed under Jordan’s direction.

I think the thing that I am finding so fascinating is the ways in which [mine and Jordan’s] growth, our personal growth as people gets to be communicated inside of the characters in a way. I mean, we’re separate in a way, but I think some of the things that our characters are contending with, and some of the things that Mike and I are contending with personally, we get to explore in the context of these films.

I think in terms of some of the things that we’re unpacking in this, which has to do with what does it look like to have successful partnership inside of your dreams? Like, what does your personhood look like when it’s not entirely tethered to what you do in the world or what you make, or your success. Or, what does it look like to unpack masculinity? What does friendship look like? What does Black brotherhood look like inside of spaces that typically are competitive? I think all of those themes are really things that we get to tease out in developing these films.

Tessa Thompson

Furthermore, Thompson talked about how she balanced her character dynamics and her character as an individual.

I think motherhood is something that has softened her tremendously. I think so often there is this idea, particularly of Black womanhood, that has to do with strength. That we are the pillars of our community. That we are the backbones of our family, that we lift our men up and that’s beautiful and that is very often true. And also, it is not, not hard-earned. You know? And it’s not easy.

Tessa Thompson
Tessa Thompson as Bianca Taylor and Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed
Tessa Thompson as Bianca Taylor and Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed. Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Ryan Coogler and Jordan have been working together on the Creed series for several years and with Jordan helming the director’s chair, Coogler believes in the potential for actor-directors.

You know, you meet actors, I thought this way about Tess, I felt this way about Jonathan, and I talk about authorship. But I meet them, and I say, “Oh, I think this person is a director.” You know what I’m saying? Like, they’re acting now, but I could see a world where, you know, it’s directed by Tessa Thompson, directed by Jonathan Majors. You know what I’m saying? And me, as a filmmaker, I get excited about these movies. ‘Cause I want to watch them.

Ryan Coogler

Furthermore, Keenan Coogler describes the influential involvement of Jordan on writing the characters and world of Creed III as well as sharing their personal influences.

It’s really interesting because I’ve been working with these two for, you know, over 10 years now. And we’ve all sort of grown up with this character. So, the scenes get super-emotional because everybody’s
implicated in them. You know, when Adonis is struggling, it’s hard not to imagine where that came from. You know, and I really love that this character has always been, like, equal parts Mike and Ryan. And Mike’s been a big brother to me from day one.

I know he likes anime, but I know he’s not gonna always lead with that in these big, scary rooms. I was the one that was like, “No, tell him. This is from episode this of this.” [laugh] And we liked it, and we want to put this in the movie. I’m not getting off this Zoom until they know what episode of Dragon Ball Z we’re doing, so. [laugh] Am I wrong?

Keenan Coogler

Final Words

Getting to hear from the cast and creative team behind Creed III and their dedication to making this film special was very heartfelt and interesting to hear. With great chemistry and personal bonds to the characters and to each other, it left me very optimistic to see where this series could be heading to next. Also, the potential for these actors and actresses to eventually be in the director’s chair gives me anticipation for the roads of this amazing team. I’d definitely recommend watching this film as it will encourage you to help yourself, those you love, and maybe even the world.

Creed III releases theatrically on March 3. See the trailer here!

Christopher Gallardo

Christopher Gallardo

Hi, my name's Chris and I write things at The Hollywood Handle. I like to write and learn about the animation world, play video games, and yes, go outside. A big Marvel, DC, and Star Wars fan/comic reader (indie too!) and occasional cinephile.
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