Last April, The New York Times ran a feature about Denzel Washington and Michael B. Jordan under the headline “Passing the Torch.” It was meant symbolically, but it may take on a deeper, more literal meaning soon, as Jordan is in talks to star in the Sony Pictures drama A Journal for Jordan, which will be Washington’s next film as a director, Collider has learned.
A Journal for Jordan tells the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dana Canedy’s love affair with First Sergeant Charles Monroe King. King kept a journal full of poignant life lessons for their newborn son Jordan while deployed overseas. He was killed in Iraq in 2006 when Jordan was just seven months old, but his spirit lives on in his messages of love to Dana and Jordan.
Washington will direct from a script by Virgil Williams, the Oscar-nominated writer of Mudbound, who adapted Canedy’s bestselling 2008 memoir. Jordan is in talks to play First Sergeant King and produce via his Outlier Society banner, while Washington will also produce alongside Todd Black and his Escape Artists partners Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch.
Jordan is coming off the stunning success of Marvel’s Black Panther, which grossed $1.3 billion worldwide before earning seven Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. Regardless of what happens on Sunday night, Black Panther‘s place in the history books of cinema is secure. Jordan also recently starred in Creed II, which became the highest-grossing live-action film to ever open over Thanksgiving weekend. And, he earned his a PGA Award and his first Emmy nomination as an executive producer on the HBO movie Fahrenheit 451, in which he starred opposite Michael Shannon.
Jordan next stars in Destin Daniel Cretton‘s legal drama Just Mercy as a world-renowned civil rights defense attorney who fights to free a condemned death row prisoner. It’s the kind of role that could thrust him into the Oscar race next year. Jordan is also assembling a strong development slate that includes Lionsgate’s action-thriller The Silver Bear, which just landed an intriguing new director on Wednesday, as well as a remake of The Thomas Crown Affair and an adaptation Tom Clancy‘s Without Remorse, which is being eyed as a potential franchise at Paramount.
Meanwhile, Jordan’s Outlier Society was one of the first production companies to publicly adopt the inclusion rider, and it has first-look deals for both film and television at Warner Bros. and Amazon Studios, respectively. It is developing several projects including an adaption of the popular fantasy novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the WWII action drama The Liberators, and the hour-long sci-fi series Raising Dion. He’s represented by WME.
Washington’s directing credits include Antwone Fisher, The Great Debaters and Fences, and while he starred in all of those films, he is not expected to appear in A Journal for Jordan, at least as far as I know. Like Jordan, the Oscar-winning actor is also repped by WME.