Ryan Coogler talks Fruitvale Station, new Rocky movie Creed, & Fantastic Four Reboot
Flicks And The City chatted to Fruitvale Station writer and director Ryan Coogler at the Sundance London Film Festival about the story of Fruitvale, his Rocky spin-off Creed, and his thoughts on the Fantastic Four reboot starring Fruitvale Station’s lead Michael B Jordan.
Fruitvale shows the last 24-hours in the life of Oscar Grant, who was shot dead by police on New Year’s Day 2009. Michael B. Jordan stars as Grant, in a cast that also includes Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz and Kevin Durand.
Coogler talked of his personal connection to Grant, who was the same age as he was on the day he was killed, “I couldn’t help but personalise it almost immediately… seeing him on that grainy footage, it was like it was happening to myself.”
On the subject of fact versus fiction in the movie, he said, “the majority is what happened on that very day. We’re fortunate enough that Oscar was with other people pretty much the whole day and when he wasn’t, he told them what happened.”
He tried not to make Oscar too nice, keeping in some of his negative side, “most people loved Oscar… some people hated him … on this day Oscar was around people who he meant the world to … the biggest thing about him that we tried to capture was that the relationship with his girl and with his daughter really mattered to him.”
Coogler’s next project is Creed – a spin-off from the Rocky series focusing on the grandson of Apollo Creed. This will see him team up with Michael B. Jordan again. He told us, “We just turned in the latest draft, so we’ll be hearing back from the producers soon.”
This is another personal story for Coogler, “my grandmother was sick most of [my father’s] life, and at the time when she was the worst, they would sit in bed and watch Rocky together… whenever he would watch it, he would cry.”
Michael B. Jordan has recently signed on to star in the reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise, to be directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle). The change of race for Johnny Storm has caused some controversy, but Coogler said, “Mike [Jordan] is a terrific actor. The thing about literary characters and specifically comic book characters is that they change with the times… his ethnicity was never really part of the story. I know Josh Trank really well… he’s gonna bring something special to that franchise… all fans of the comic book series should be excited”
Fruitvale Station (15) is in cinemas in the UK & Ireland on June 6 2014.