The world needs a Michael Jordan biopic. If done correctly a biopic of Jordan has the potential to be the greatest sports movie of all time.
Michael Jordan is arguably the most famous athlete on the planet. Thanks to his achievements on the court – 6x NBA Champion, 6x NBA Finals MVP, 5x NBA MVP, etc. – and the incredible marketing engine behind him, Jordan ascended to mythical levels. Between Air Jordans, Space Jam, 2 retirements and his short-lived baseball career there are many different elements that could and should be included in a movie of this scale. However, all of those are for sequels. For the first Michael Jordan movie it should be about one thing…the game.
The Name: Jordan
Want to know what makes “Jordan” such a great and delightfully simple title (follow us):
First movie: “Jordan”
Second movie: “Jordan 2”
Third movie: “Jordan 3”
We know we’re geniuses.
- 23: This was our original choice, but it seemed redundant after the awesome Jackie Robinson movie “42.”
- Jumpman: This name is too closely related to Air Jordans and this movie isn’t about the shoes.
- 72-10: As legendary as the 72-10 season is, there isn’t a lot of name recognition compared to a simple title like…”Jordan.”
The Timeframe: 1995-96
There is a distinct disadvantage that plagues producing a film about a player as huge as Jordan. How do you condense all of MJ’s accomplishments into a 2 to 3 hour movie?
We’ve decided to hone in on the 1995-1996 Chicago Bull’s run to their legendary 72-10 record. Our Michael Jordan movie is a trilogy in the style of “The Godfather” so going in chronological order isn’t important. Instead the first film in the trilogy should be his biggest victory, so inevitably in subsequent movies we can see a young Michael rise, fall and rise again.
Ryan Coogler has cemented himself as one of the most talented young directors in Hollywood. His first feature-length movie, “Fruitvale Station,” received rave reviews, critical acclaim and numerous awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Coogler’s momentum continued with the Rocky spinoff “Creed,” showing that the young director has an eye for both drama and the fast paced nature of sports film.
If there is anyone who can inject a sense of drama and excitement to “Jordan,” while also honing in on what makes a Jordan in his prime tick it is Coogler. His working relationship with Michael B. Jordan was actually going to lead us to cast the other Jordan in the titular role, but we decided to go with another guy.
Actor: John Boyega
John Boyega’s star is rapidly rising. The British actor has gone from small indie projects like “Attack the Block” to being one of the leads in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” (aka The highest-grossing worldwide opening of all time). Boyega is new enough as an actor that we haven’t seen his complete range.
Playing Michael Jordan is high stakes. You want an actor who’s face is recognizable, but not too ubiquitous. Letting a general unknown play Jordan is risky. While an unknown gives you a better shot at finding someone that more closely resembles MJ, Boyega’s rising star gives the film an extra amount of attention and anticipation to see if the young star can really do it.
Actor: James Brolin
Look at the picture of James Brolin above and then look at the picture of Phil Jackson below. If anyone was born to play the man who guided the Chicago Bulls to 6 championships its Brolin.
Actor: Scott Mescudi
This next pick is controversial, but we’re confident in our decision. Kid Cudi as Scottie Pippen could work. If Cudi put on a lot of weight and let his afro grow out it wouldn’t be hard to see the Man on the Moon as Jordan’s right hand man.
Half the fun of a biopic is choosing actors that will transform into their role. Seeing Cudi hit the weight room to resemble the small forward would definitely let us see another side of the burgeoning actor.
Actor: Michael Ealy
Dennis Rodman is an alien. Before there was Lil Wayne or Young Thug, there was “The Worm.” From the tattoos and the piercings to the dyed hair, Rodman has always been a walking show that was impossible to turn away from.
That’s why choosing an actor to play Rodman proves so difficult. Another actor that will need to go through a transformation to truly embody the worm is Michael Ealy. However, through the pretty boy swag you can see how Michael Ealy could possibly portray Rodman. Give his hair a little bleach, match the tattoos and piercings and Ealy could definitely pull it off. The only thing left would be the attitude.
Actor: Chris Pine
Chris Pine is an actor who had been around for a while before he got his big role as Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek reboot. Steve Kerr had been a player for a couple of years before he ever won a championship. See where we’re going with this?
Steve Kerr wasn’t the go-to guy for the Bulls, but he was there when they needed him the most. A reliable player who was deadly from the 3 point line, racking up a 51% from 3 during the ’95-’96 season. A player who knew how to handle success with grace, this is why Chris Pine would be an excellent choice for Steve Kerr. Plus the resemblance is uncanny.
Actor: Miles Teller
One of the biggest roles on a basketball team is the 6th man. He is the first off the bench to give your starters some rest while rejuvenating the players still out on the court. Toni Kukoc was that to the Bulls and so much more. The 6th man isn’t an A-list star but is by no means a benchwarmer, he is someone who is bound for stardom, perfect roll for a young actor like Miles Teller.
We see it like this: Kukoc’s early years playing in Europe are like Teller’s bit parts like in Project X and the Footloose re-make, and Kukoc’s Sixth Man of the Year in ’96 is like Teller’s roll in Whiplash: a crowning achievement.
Ron Harper was a 10 year vet before winning his first championship with the Bulls in ’96. He saw an increase in playing time and in his ppg, and was a key player for the Bulls all season long.
A vet in the game that felt comfortable around living legends had us thinking only one man could play Harper in this flick, and that man is Common. A fellow Chicagoan, it’s only right that Common gets a spot in a movie about the City’s greatest celebrity. Common was a vet in the hip hop game before he decided to switch lanes and go into acting. He felt right at home in his new surroundings and wasn’t afraid to act with some of Hollywood’s biggest names, just like how Ron Harper wasn’t afraid to play with some of the biggest names in the NBA.
Actor: Seth Rogen
This one might be bit of a stretch, get it? Because he’s the center?? *Crickets. We had to start this off with a joke because we chose one of Hollywood’s funnymen to hold down the 5 spot as Luc Longley, Seth Rogen.
Consistency is a big part playing a center, you’re the team’s last line of defense. Luc Longley was the epitome of consistent for the Bulls during their second 3-peat. Seth Rogen’s comedy, may not be your cup of tea, but is always consistent for his audience. If you’re a fan of Rogen you usually never leave the theater disappointed, and that’s what you need out of your center: anything but a disappointment.
James R. Jordan, Sr.
Actor: Forest Whitaker
For someone who raised greatness, we felt it was necessary to cast a great actor to portray him. James Jordan was the man Michael looked up to so filling his shoes for a biopic is a big one.
Even though this role will only be seen in a flashback due to Jordan Senior’s untimely death in 1993, you still have to have a actor that can leave a lasting impression on you. We chose Forest Whitaker for MJ’s father because he is someone who, rather small or large role, will always leave you impressed after watching him act.
Actress: Angela Bassett
When Hollywood needs a strong, influential mother-figure in a biopic they usually cast Anglea Bassett, and that’s exactly what we did here for the casting of MJ’s mother Deloris Jordan. ‘Nuff said.