On the wrong side of the tracks

On the wrong side of the tracks
Michael B. Jordan (inset) plays ex-convict Oscar (top, second from left), who was shot by a white cop in Fruitvale Station.

UNITED STATE - Michael B. Jordan is no stranger to playing troubled urban characters who often end up on the wrong side of the law.

The African-American actor, 26, is best remembered for his roles as the teenage drug dealer Wallace in HBO series The Wire (2002-2008) and rebellious quarterback Vince Howard in the NBC series Friday Night Lights (2009-2011).

His first leading role in Fruitvale Station follows the same trajectory, as he plays Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old black youth who was fatally shot by a white police officer on New Year's Eve at a Bart train station near Oakland, California.

The debut feature-length film by director Ryan Coogler, 27, named after the train station where the shooting took place, won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

But Jordan seems slightly restless as he tells Life! over the telephone from Los Angeles that he has always wanted to diversify his resume, hinting at his desire to avoid being typecast even as he reflects seriously about Grant's story.

He is "extremely humbled" to be compared by the American press to actors such as Denzel Washington or Will Smith, but also looks up to Leonardo DiCaprio as a role model.

"There are a lot more things that I'll like to try, sci-fi, act in a love story, be an action hero... " he rattles on, seemingly overwhelmed by the thought of projects that he has yet to take on.

While he has no confirmed projects coming up, rumours have circulated that he might be playing the blond-haired blue-eyed Human Torch in Josh Trank's remake of Fantastic Four, the 2005 American superhero film based on the series by Marvel Comics. Human Torch was previously played by Chris Evans, a white actor. Jordan, however, refuses to comment on this.

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