Director defends Michael B. Jordan's Fruitvale Station performance
Ryan Coogler discusses Michael B. Jordan's portrayal of Oscar Grant 'Fruitvale Station' and hits back at claims that they made him too rosy
Michael B. Jordan's 'Fruitvale Station' character is expected to act in a "certain way" since he's African American.
Director Ryan Coogler's hit back at claims that the portrayal of Jordan's alter-ego Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by a BART police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California, on New Year's Day, 2009, is too rosy and insists they tried to be as accurate as possible.
In an interview with website DigitalSpy.com, he revealed: "We wanted him to be accurate, you know, 360 degrees, and the performance that Mike gave meant we had a lot of variety in the editing room. We could have cuts where he was really nice, we could have a cut where he was a little more aggressive, we wanted to paint the full perspective. You see him with his boss, you see him in prison and he's very threatening. You see him selling drugs, riding past police with drugs in his car, doing something that could get him right back in jail.
"You see him argue with his girl, you see him argue with his mum, so it's all these different things. But in this case, the fact that he's an African American male in this environment, people expect certain things from a character that looks like that. I think that's what a lot of it boils down to. If he wasn't a black male from Oakland, nobody would say his character was too nice."
Coogler was inspired to make the film after becoming "emotionally moved" when he saw footage of the tragedy.
It is believed the officer drew his gun and shot Grant once in the back after officers detained him and others following reports of a fight on a crowded Bay Area Rapid Transit train returning from San Francisco.
He added: "When Oscar was killed, once I saw the footage and was emotionally moved by it, I couldn't help but personalise it."