michael b. jordan and ryan coogler

Michael B. Jordan Puts on the Boxing Gloves

By Randall Rydell Rusell


Michael B. Jordan is a rising star in Hollywood. After starting out in the 2001 sports drama

Hardball alongside Keanu Reeves and many stints on television programs like All My Children, the hit

football drama Friday Night Lights , and a memorable role as Haddie’s ex-alcoholic boyfriend Alex on the

second and third season of the hit drama Parenthood. But it was his role in 2013’s hit indie drama

Fruitvale Station where he played Oscar Grant, the real life victim of a police attack that left him dead

and the country in an uproar. That role made him and its young Bay Area director Ryan Coogler

overnight sensations, and very much in demand.


Now, Michael B. Jordan and his Fruitvale Station director have signed on to star and direct

Creed, the spin off and continuation of the Rocky franchise which sent it’s writer/star(and occasional

director) Sylvester Stallone to superstardom.


If you’re not familiar with who Creed is in the Rocky franchise, Apollo Creed (played by Carl

Weathers) was Rocky’s nemesis in the first two Rocky films. Apollo was the epitome of boxing and

trained well by his trainer/manager/father figure Tony ‘Duke’ Evers (Tony Burton, who appeared in

every Rocky movie next to Sylvester Stallone and Burt Young who played Paulie) and in the first film he

felt he could beat Rocky with no problem until Rocky gave him the beating of his life. By the second

movie, hungry for revenge, Rocky and Apollo have a rematch where Rocky barely comes out on top but

showed the ‘Eye of the Tiger’. By the third movie after the death of Rocky’s original trainer Mickey

(played by the late great Burgess Meredith), Apollo and Duke take over as Rocky’s trainer/managers so

he can take on Clubber Lang (played by Mr. T). In the fourth film, Apollo comes out of retirement to take

on Soviet fighter Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren). When Apollo dies in his exhibition match to

Drago, Rocky and Duke travel to Russia to take on Drago to defend Apollo’s honor. After this film besides

flashbacks, conversation and pictures, Apollo was no longer in the franchise. Part 5 and 6 focused on

Rocky continuing to fight until he finally retired in part 6.


Creed will focus on Adonis Creed (played by Jordan), the wealthy grandson of Apollo Creed

whose family have made it their duty to keep boxing away from the young Creed even though he has a

raw natural talent. After wanting nothing more than to box, he turns to Rocky to train him and get him

ready for a match that could launch his career.


Director Ryan Coogler has been a longtime fan and it was his pitch to MGM that got Stallone and

the studio itching for this movie to happen, as well as Stallone loving the idea of Rocky training Creed’s

young grandson and the studio and Stallone being fans of Fruitvale Station. No word if anymore

returning actors from the franchise would return. I would love to see Duke, Paulie and Rocky’s son

Robert make a return to keep the franchise familiar. Creed is due out late 2015 or early 2016.

tessa thompson

Tessa Thompson: The New Female Face of Black Hollywood

By Randall Rydell Russell

tessa thompson

Actresses in Hollywood are all over the place, successful black actresses in Hollywood is a battle. If anyone has watched any movies in the past year, they should know that Tessa Thompson is about to blow up in a big way.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in New York as well, Tessa is the daughter of singer/songwriter Marc Anthony Thompson of the New York based band Chocolate Genius. After many stints in Hollywood theatre companies, Tessa became a series regular on the detective show Veronica Mars in it’s second season. She made several guest appearances on various TV shows after. She transitioned to films, appearing in the horror remake When A Stranger Calls, the dance flick Make It Happen, The Human Contract and Mississippi Damned. She received notoriety for her role in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls which featured Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine, Whoopi Goldberg and Kerry Washington.

It was in 2014 that her starring role in the independent comedy/drama Dear White People has the world looking at her. Her portrayal as a radio host of a black program at a mostly white college has garnered her critical acclaim and awards season isn’t even here yet. She can also be seen playing Diane Nash in the historical biography Selma. It chronicles the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his civil rights movements in the 50’s and 60’s. Tessa has just signed on to play the love interest of Michael B. Jordan in the spin off/continuation of the Rocky franchise in Creed.

Tessa is a force to be reckoned with and other Hollywood actresses should watch out.