While some actors make it a habit of beefing up or slimming down for a role, Michael B. Jordan is known in Hollywood as a man who pretty much exists in a perpetually jacked state. Since stunning audiences with his performance in Creed and the dedication required to get to such a physique, the actor has continued to make fitness and health a priority. Naturally, that’s seen him nab a number of roles that require the utmost in physicality, fitness and strength.
It seems there’s little Michael B. Jordan can’t do and if ever there was a role set to test him, it would be that of the upcoming Without Remorse, a film in which Jordan plays an elite Navy SEAL named John Clark who becomes an operative for the CIA.
In an interview with Men’s Journal, Jordan shared the training he underwent to prepare for his toughest action role yet. Remarkably, it wasn’t a huge stretch for the actor though, given his family background. As he told the publication, “My father’s a Marine, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for people who serve and have served.” With this in mind, Jordan felt a sense of responsibility to play the part with absolute conviction, so he consulted with a number of military advisors, including the likes of Buck Doyle, a decorated Marine veteran, for support and assistance with the training. Naturally though, much of the training was put down to his long-time trainer Corey Caillet who put Jordan through an arduous combat-preparedness program.
Speaking to the publication, Jordan explained that months of hard work and training went into the role. “The training aspect was key, and we had a few months. I was honoured to work with Buck Doyle, especially out on his ranch for our shooting practice and weapons work,” he told Men’s Journal. “That technical training helped give me the foundation I needed to embody the character from a dramatic standpoint, since the part was down from day one. I wanted to live it. There was a huge water component too. I worked with a great group of military divers, learning how to deal with high-stress situations while submerged, like weapon and gear malfunctions. It felt good to be able to do it and handle myself.”
Jordan admitted that he was comfortable with guns and the weapon training, largely due to the familiarity he had having gone to the range before with his dad. He’s also had to hold guns before for other dim projects and done gunplay, too. But in Without Remorse, the weapons training is even more intricate and detailed, and it meant sharpening the skills Jordan had already acquired. “I have a lot of reverence for what people in the special forces do and their ability to keep their head when things go wrong,” he said. “I respect their drive to keep their fellow soldiers safe before themselves. Buck really sent me through it. The man was not easy on me by any means.”
The training with Corey Caillet was intense. As Jordan explains, “We’re both obsessive when it comes to the work, and there’s no way I’d rather have it. Once we set our minds on a certain physique, there’s no stopping us. It’s important to me that my physical body represents the character I’m playing.” Explaining the difference between this character and Creed, he admits that he was bigger in Creed II, the biggest he’s been in his career. But this film sees Jordan embody the physicality of a Navy SEAL with authenticity.
To do so, he trained throughout filming. Often, training sessions would take place around filming, getting off set at four or five in the morning before heading straight to the gym to train for two hours. It meant Jordan was then catching up on sleep during the day, waking in the afternoon and doing it all over again. It made for little recovery time, something Jordan admits wasn’t particularly wise (or enjoyable).
The training for Without Remorse often involved circuits with lots of exercises, and plenty of burpees thrown in for good measure. That said, the water work was the hardest for Jordan. “There’s a plan crash int he water, and I have to hold my breath for minutes on end – and perform. It’s a scene I was initially very excited about, fell out of love while filming, then came back around to loving it when we were done,” he said. “It was incredibly strenuous and arduous to get through, but so satisfying when we got done. I felt incredibly accomplished because it was so challenging in every sense of the word.”
For now, Jordan is letting his body recover and reset. He’s eating “anything and everything” and enjoying this period of much deserved freedom when it comes to his diet and training. It’s for good reason, too. He’ll be filming the next Creed movie next and will be hitting the gym in preparation hard in May.