Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, and the cast of “Just Mercy” opened up about the biblical themes woven throughout the legal drama and why they believe hope and justice are rooted in faith.
Jordan both co-produced and stars alongside Jamie Foxx in “Just Mercy,” a film based on the powerful and thought-provoking true story of lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice.
After graduating from Harvard, Bryan moves to Alabama where he takes on the case of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the main testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie.
In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings, as well as overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds — and the system — stacked against them.
During a sit-down interview with The Christian Post, Jordan explained that Stevenson’s Christian faith drives his work, as the public interest lawyer continues to advocate for the underserved and poorly represented through his nonprofit organization, the Equal Justice Initiative. Thus, it was only fitting that Stevenson’s faith — along with spiritual themes of mercy, compassion, and justice — to remain front and center throughout the film.
“Faith and hope is a big part of Bryan Stevenson’s upbringing,” Jordan said. “He grew up in the church. I did as well, and so did Jamie. And for all of us, faith is directly connected to hope. Bryan is an advocate for hope and optimism, so those were things that were just very important to the story. That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to make sure that was incorporated.”
In addition to Walter, “Just Mercy” shares the stories of several other inmates on death row who are grappling with their looming execution.
“When you’re on death row, hope is all you really have when you’re condemned to death. That’s it,” Jordan said. “So besides just withering away in those four walls, Bryan instilled hope in these people. Walter McMillan inspired hope into other inmates, that were on death row. Hope is the tinder, the support system, that’s holding these people together.”
“Without hope,” he added, “you don’t have any chance for justice.”
Jordan added that the visual of a black man saving another black man is “extremely important” because it fosters unity and draws attention to a rarely-seen narrative.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett