Michael B. Jordan struggled with the final scene in “Just Mercy,” in which he plays American lawyer Bryan Stevenson. The finale of the film is a courtroom scene featuring Jordan’s Stevenson and Jamie Foxx’s wrongly-condemned death row prisoner Walter McMillan, and Jordan was nervous for it.
“There’s a lot of dialogue. Bryan said I couldn’t really ad-lib or improv because it’s exactly what he said. So I knew I had to get all that stuff down pretty tight,” said Jordan.
“I was anxious, man. I wanted to get it right really bad. The courtroom was packed — it was a long day.”
Jordan admitted he made several mistakes and fluffed a couple of lines, which Foxx said he constantly apologized for because “he’s so nice.” This prompted Foxx to give his co-star and longtime friend some advice.
“I pulled him to the side and was like, ‘Hey, you don’t have to apologise. This is your film. You put this together. If it takes you thirty minutes to say one line, take it,'” said Foxx.
“That boy went over there — I don’t know what he did — got his mind together, and then lullabied it. It was so incredible that the extras gave him a standing ovation,” Foxx said.
It wasn’t just the extras that Jordan’s performance had an effect on, as Foxx explained he went to touch his arm and Jordan was so in the zone that he jerked away and left the set.
“He walked out, and black people call it the Holy Ghost. I said he got the Holy Spirit. I was proud,” said Foxx.
“I text him and said what you just did was monumental. The people in the fourth row are weeping. You don’t see someone actually care that much.”
Jordan himself, typically, remained humble amidst Foxx’s praise and credited the Oscar-winner as a longtime-mentor.
“I couldn’t imagine anybody championing me the way he has,” said Jordan. “Those little words that he told me for that scene made all of the difference. I owe a lot of them to him.”