Chad Michael Murray doesn’t quite have a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in Fruitvale Station, but his supporting role is a somewhat surprising turn for the actor who probably has a lifetime parking space at CW network HQ. Still, teen stars who make it big on soaps or period high school flicks aren’t beholden to playing those types of characters forever, despite what the career trajectories of certain performers might suggest.
Michael B. Jordan may currently be promoting his new drama, Fruitvale Station, in which he portrays the real Oscar Grant III in his final hours, but to me, he’ll always be Vince Howard from Friday Night Lights. And even though bringing beloved television shows to the big screen doesn’t always work, I can’t help getting excited whenever someone mentions the possibility of a FNL film. (I should know better!) And then I want to take a trip to the Alamo Freeze. Immediately.
Fans of Michael B. Jordan have watched him grow from teenage drug dealer (on The Wire) to leading man, receiving recent festival praise for his work in Fruitvale Station. In the film Jordan plays 22-year-old Oscar Grant III, who was shot and killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit officer in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009. Grant’s death resulted in major riots in the Bay Area, but Jordan and first time writer-director Ryan Coogler don’t try to villanize the institution or point the finger. Instead, what you get is a rich, layered depiction of a life that’s no more.
He might be gaining major accolades and award show buzz thanks to his performance in Fruitvale Station (out in New York and L.A. today; everywhere July 26), but Michael B. Jordan is a familiar face to fans of Texas football, Baltimore street life, and overly talkative families, thanks to his work on beloved television dramas like Friday Night Lights, The Wire, and Parenthood. Regardless of the role in which you first came to know him, it’s highly likely at least one of his performances has made you well up like a baby–he’s just got that touch.