Jordan didn't want to play an oppressor.
Michael B. Jordan is coming off the success of playing Killmonger in Black Panther. Prior to Thanos showing up, Jordan effectively fixed Marvel's issue of having lame villains (Loki is the only Marvel Cinematic Universe villain in ten years to really captivate fans) and delivered an epic performance. It's on to the next one for Jordan though, who continues to put in work both in front of and behind the camera. Most recently, HBO released a film adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, which is based on a book of the same name by Ray Bradbury. Jordan stars as Guy Montag, a "firefighter" whose job is to burn books that have been deemed illegal. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jordan initially turned down the role, citing cultural morals as his reason for passing on the role the first time.
"Being a black man, I didn't want to play somebody who's an oppressor," Jordan told THR. "I just didn't want that in my head." It wasn't until he realized that actor Michael Shannon was connected to the film that Jordan began to change his mind. "After sitting down with the director Ramin [Bahrani] and knowing Michael Shannon was going to be a part of it — he's an incredible actor — and understanding the vision and themes and messages he wanted to send through the movie, I was like, 'Okay,'" Jordan stated, also claiming that surviving "through the third act" was big for him.
"I didn't want the audiences to keep seeing me die in roles," Jordan admitted. "And my mom, every time I watched her watch me die onscreen, it tore me up. I just wanted to play a role so she could see me win."