By Katherine Brinkley-Broomfield
It is without question that Marvel’s “Black Panther” has reached milestones and made history with grossing more than $1 billion worldwide. And in the midst of the record-breaking impact of the film was the realization of a dream for Florida A&M University alum Darnell Jordan.
“This was the first film set I’ve ever stepped foot on,” said Jordan, who landed a role in the film as a warrior after his first-ever audition for a feature film.
In the film, Jordan starred as one of the Border Tribe Warriors, which guards Wakanda’s boundaries.
Although Jordan did not have a large speaking role, he said being a part of the film was inspiring and life-changing.
“In hindsight, I’m just in awe of all the talented people I had the privilege of working with. The set was like family,” said Jordan. “Seeing so many African countries and cultures being represented in arguably the biggest movie of 2018 was an experience.”
Jordan, who has only been acting for a year, is the first in his family to attend college. He received a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in exercise science from FAMU in the spring of 2006. He was on the football team as a freshman and worked in campus recreation as a fitness intern.
From there, Jordan got involved in dance and activities in the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Department and credits his instructors for helping him learn the “flow” of being an artist.
In November 2016, after his photographer at the time told him about a film project being made in Atlanta, Jordan submitted his photos for the “Black Panther” casting call. With a schedule already in place as a fitness trainer and model, Jordan had no idea that in the second week of February 2017 he would receive a congratulatory email h saying that he was booked to be featured in the film.
“So, thankfully I listened to him because I got an email inviting me to the open call. That’s when I met casting agent, Tammy Smith, whom I had no idea would change my life forever,” Jordan said.
As the biggest superhero movie for a solo or no-sequel superhero movie, Jordan said that being a part of the film with a predominately Black cast was all he needed to know to gain interest.
“An all-African and African-American cast in a Marvel production was all I needed to know,” Jordan explained. “The hope it could bring people of color in the industry to carry on lead roles in a positive and strong light.”
Currently, Jordan resides in Atlanta and is also working on the show “Dynasty” as a full-time stand in and is also enrolled in acting classes at Acting Out Studios Atlanta. Jordan also became eligible for the Screen Actors Guild in November 2017 and his furthering his skills as a stuntman. He is still a personal trainer and is working towards being a certified strength and conditioning coach or specialist.
Jordan’s career is well on its way for more milestone achievements. Ultimately, he believes FAMU has played a vital role in his networking abilities and that his role in the film has given his children something to be proud of.
“FAMU taught me the importance of paying attention to detail and networking because teams are stronger than individuals,” Jordan said. “And most importantly, how to be yourself because acting requires a lot of confidence. When you know who you are, you can accomplish things you never imagined.”