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Creed: Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler talk father-son story

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Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan’s multigenerational boxing drama Creed is most visibly based on the blockbuster Rocky franchise, which it continues through the story of Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky’s late friend and greatest rival.

But the film isn’t merely an exercise in pop-culture nostalgia: For director Coogler, it’s an intensely personal story by inspired his close relationship with his own father. In a recent video interview with EW, Coogler and leading man Jordan talked about the real-life relationships that shaped the project.

“Once [Coogler] really gave me a full pitch, and we talked about character and his idea for the project and where it came from — the personal nature of the story and what it meant to him and his father … it was a no-brainer for me,” Jordan said.

Coogler added, “The whole impetus of the thing was my relationship with my father, so all of that’s there, and we were trying to constantly remind ourselves of that and carry that over. Even with [costar] Sly [Stallone], he was dealing with those same things, with his son having passed away right before. So it was all subject matter that was close to all our hearts.”

Jordan said relationship with his father informed his performance, but in a roundabout way. “I think because my father played such a huge role in my life … to try imagine a world without him there, I think that was the hardest thing to unlock for me,” he said. “That was very interesting to me — to play a guy that didn’t know who his dad was, but still had his father be so present in his life.”

Watch the video above for more.