Ellen DeGeneres' audience couldn't help but marvel at publicity stills of a shirtless Michael B. Jordan in Marvel Studios' Black Panther (in theaters Feb. 16). So, it didn't come as a surprise when she complimented his impeccable physique once he joined her onstage. "I'm just trying to stay in shape for as long as I can," the actor told the daytime talk show host. "Why not? Right?"
Jordan has been in fighting form for years, ever since he bulked up to star in Ryan Coogler's 2015 drama Creed. As he explained on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, it was his role in that film that led to his casting in Black Panther. "I was on the press tour for Creed and Ryan called me up and was like, 'Eh, we're about to go shoot this other movie. Do you wanna do it?' And I was like, 'Cool. Let's go have some fun.' And that was literally it," he recalled. "From that moment on, I just decided to dedicate everything to getting in shape and to becoming Erik 'Killmonger.'"
One of the ways in which he prepared for the role was to drink over a gallon of water daily. "Do you know how often you have to use the bathroom when you're drinking a gallon, especially in the middle of the night?" Jordan asked. "You're trying to sleep; you've got to wake up and use the bathroom. You're like, 'Oh, my God. I'm just going to hold it.' It just doesn't quite work out."
Jordan would exercise two to three times a day and eat six times a day, which required a great deal of discipline. So much, in fact, that it impacted his social life. "It's hard to go out to a club or a party when you're like, 'Oh, wait! Meal prep! We gotta go pop this thing in the microwave and eat food,'" the actor laughed. "It's tough to socialize when you gotta get in shape like that."
With Creed II beginning production in April, Jordan isn't taking any days off. "As soon as I leave here, I'm going to the gym," he said, adding that he is "in the process of getting back in shape."
DeGeneres jokingly asked Jordan if he'd ever consider playing a "lazy" character who simply lounges around and does "nothing at all" besides "gain weight." Jordan laughed, asking, "Just like eat pizza and hang out? Just become method and sit there with a belly? Six-pack to a keg?"
Perhaps half-jokingly, the actor said, "Imma work on that."