Denzel Washington and Dana Canedy on bringing ‘A Journal for Jordan’ to the big screen

theGrio also caught up with the film's stars, Chante Adams and Michael B. Jordan

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Denzel Washington is having another major moment in Hollywood. He’s at his best as the title character in The Tragedy of Macbeth and flexing his muscles behind the camera as the director of A Journal For Jordan. 

Based on the 2008 book “A Journal For Jordan: A Story of Love and Honor” by Dana Canedy, the film stars Michael B. Jordan as First Sergeant Charles Monroe King, a soldier deployed to Iraq who begins to keep a journal of love and advice for his infant son.

Back at home, senior New York Times editor Dana Canedy (Chanté Adams) revisits the story of her unlikely, life-altering relationship with King and his enduring devotion to her and their child.

World Premiere Of A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN
Dana Canedy and Jordan Canedy attend the world premiere of “A Journal For Jordan” at AMC on Dec. 9, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)

When Denzel Washington sat down with theGrio he revealed that he didn’t intend to direct the film when he began working on the project fifteen years ago. 

“This was a 15-year process of developing the material and actually, I wasn’t going to direct it. I was producing it. About three years ago, we got a script that I loved and that my partner and I felt like we have a movie. And then I suggested, well, maybe I’ll direct it. So that’s how that happened,” he said. 

Both Washington and Canedy explained that they aimed to present a realistic relationship, and didn’t feel the need to create a fairy-tale romance for the film. 

“Any long-term relationship has ups and downs,” said Canedy. “And our relationship wasn’t perfect. I’m certainly not. I didn’t want to tell a story in my book, and I think this was also captured in the movie that portrayed us as anything other than who we are. And I think it’s why it resonated. I think it’s why the book resonated, and I think it’s why audiences will find themselves in the story. Because it’s real and we’re real.”

That realness was instrumental in developing the dynamic between Adams and Jordan, whose characters fall in love in the film, but don’t always agree. 

“I had an unlimited resource that I can always pull from and Dana made sure that she made herself available to me at all times throughout the whole process,” said Adams. “I felt very blessed and very lucky to be able to just call her at any moment. If I had a question, if I needed to know something about how she felt about Charles in this moment, how she got through this thing, and she graciously walked me through everything.”

World Premiere Of A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN
Michael B. Jordan and Denzel Washington attend the world premiere of “A Journal For Jordan” on Dec. 9, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)

Jordan insists that authenticity was at the forefront of everyone’s mind while making the film, down to his character’s raggedy sneakers. 

“I think it was really important for Denzel to get this right and be real and as grounded as possible. And those are the conversations that we really had, those conversations that Dana had with Charles,” he explained.

“The shoes were a thing. And we wanted to make sure we got those specific things right because they were so personal and they were so specific. So we wanted to make sure we brought that to the big screen,” Jordan continued.

Check out the full interview above. 

A Journal for Jordan is in theaters now. 

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