Michael B. Jordan can now add director to his long list of career accomplishments.
The Black Panther star is teaming up with Brisk, the official drink of the new Marvel movie, to direct and produce digital content for the brand’s 2018 Brisk Creators Class.
Together with Jordan and his production company, Outlier Society, Brisk is working to provide a collective of diverse up-and-coming artists with opportunities to collaborate with and be mentored by creative industry leaders.
Jordan’s new short highlights an up-and-coming street artist working alongside the actor as he prepares for his role in Black Panther.
“For me, it started off in front of the camera, but as you mature and grow in the industry, your taste buds eventually change,” the actor tells PEOPLE of directing.
“The timing of everything just worked out perfectly with Brisk being the official drink sponsor of Black Panther and me having some down time before I have to start doing press for the movie. They approached me with this opportunity and I couldn’t really pass it up.”
Jordan said he identified with the project’s goal of “giving back to the next generation of creators, whether it’s painting, acting, music or whatever it may be. Just being a part of this campaign meant a lot.”
Appearing in his first show, The Sopranos, at the age of just 12, Jordan, now 30, said he enjoys the added control he gets from directing. “You’re always being told what to do as an actor and as you get older, you want to be a little bit more involved in the process and express your point of view and your creativity to see how things actually look and come about,” he explained.
After working with a slew of prominent directors, Jordan said he learned to “shoot as much as you can.” He added, “I learned a lot from Ryan Coogler and Josh Trank as well. Other directors I’ve worked with know me and know my ambitions to direct one day; they’ve given me so many gems of wisdom and information.”
As an ambassador for up-and-coming artists, Jordan said he’d recommend that newcomers always speak up. “There are no dumb questions,” he explained. “You have to trust your gut. You have to make it make sense to you because your intuition is really all you got to start off with. If you feel like asking something and want to get it off your chest, you might as well ask now and say what you got to say because later you’re going to wish you would have. Speak your mind in the moment and don’t be scared or intimated to do so. Take that gut instinct and follow it through because it’s usually the right choice.”
As for Black Panther, Jordan could not be more excited for audiences to see the film. “It was a surreal feeling just seeing all these beautiful black folks coming together and not being portrayed as anything other than royalty and being in a place of power,” he said. “It was a really cool experience seeing Wakanda put on the map. The comic book has been around just as long as any of the other characters, but it’s finally getting its opportunity to be a full-scale movie. It was pretty incredible for me to be a part of that.”
The film also gave Jordan the chance to play the villain, a role he hasn’t often explored as a leading man. “That was a lot of fun. You don’t have as much restraint. People typically know me as the good guy, well rounded and all that good stuff, but it was fun to just soak up and relish in that unapologetic bad guy, who’s not your typical ‘villain’ either,” he said.
“I think the most interesting antagonists are the ones you can sort of empathize with and understand where they’re coming from. Hopefully, I did a good job with that,” he added.
Asked whether he would ever consider directing a big budget movie like Black Panther one day, Jordan said, “Without a doubt. I can’t wait to grow and evolve as a director and take on bigger and bigger challenges and productions as my career moves forward. This is just the start, the tip of the iceberg in a new endeavor. I really had a lot of fun with this.”
Black Panther hits theaters Feb. 16.