Recent TV shows and films include Friday Night Lights, That Awkward Moment and Fruitvale Station, and this weekend you can see him as the son of Apollo in the new Rocky spinoff Creed. (Which might be the best movie idea ever, if you ask us. Even if it sounds like a documentary on a Christian rock band.)
We asked him about Carl Weathers, the other Jordan and being hailed as the next Denzel Washington. No pressure or anything…
“Denzel told me, ‘Keep it up, man, keep doing the work, and hopefully we’ll be able to work together.’ To hear him say that was pretty cool and reassuring. Because he knows how rough the road is.”
You’ve been called a “young Denzel.” Is that enough pressure for you?
Ha ha. It’s a great compliment. Honestly, Denzel is an actor that I’ve really looked up to, and I think he’s amazing. He’s awesome. His roles over his career are so strong. He helped open up the doors for me. I’m very appreciative of that, so to be compared to him is very humbling.
Have you ever met him?
I have. I’ve talked to him a few times and he’s always very gracious and humble and he’s always trying to drop little gems of knowledge. He says, “Keep it up, man, keep doing the work, and hopefully we’ll be able to work together.” To hear him say that was pretty cool and reassuring. Because he knows how rough the road is.
Speaking of iconic guys, have you ever met the other Michael Jordan?
I’ve never met him, no. We’ve actually been in the same room before, but it’s one of those things, like, I just couldn’t bring myself to go up and say, “Hey, what’s up?” You know?
Where was this?
We were down in New Orleans for All-Star Weekend. He had his Jordan Brand party, and there were tons of retired NBA players and current players and stuff like that. So it was a cool event. But it’s very intimidating walking up to like the greatest basketball player who ever lived. It’s not an easy thing to do.
Are you as psyched as we are about Creed?
I’m a fan of Rocky, definitely a fan of Apollo Creed, so to be able to kind of step into those shoes and carry on that franchise and start a new one, it’s pretty cool, man.
Have you ever met Carl Weathers?
I have met Carl Weathers. I met him at a poker tournament last year, I believe. He is still a stud.
You’re obviously still really young, but what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your life?
“Never change.” I think that’s been a constant from a lot of people. I mean, everybody has to grow, and with growth comes change, but I think the core of yourself, who you are, should always be the same. No matter how much success or failure you experience.
You’re a dapper gentleman. What are three items of clothing every guy should have in his closet?
Leather jacket for sure. A denim shirt. And a pair of stylish boots.
What do most people say when they recognize you on the street? What’s the most common comment you get?
Probably “Where’s Wallace?” From The Wire. I think a lot of people care about that character, so they’ll give a random shoutout—“Where’s Wallace?” They shout that out a lot.
When your character died on that show, it was such a powerful scene. It almost felt real.
Yeah, I mean, it was great writing. We had some really phenomenal actors on that show. And I was so young at the time. It was just kind of… I can’t even explain it. It just kind of happened. I was real raw at that age.