The last two years have shown Hollywood that diversity in front of and behind the camera pays major dividends, both in quality and box office receipts. No surprise, then, when Warner Bros. launched a new policy aimed at bringing more underrepresented talent into their productions—and they’re tapping one of Hollywood’s top leading men, Michael B. Jordan, as a partner.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the policy, announced by Warner Bros.’ parent company, Warner Media, on Wednesday, “focuses on having women, people of color, members of LGBTQ communities, folks with disabilities and other underrepresented groups in greater numbers in front of and behind the camera.” The new policy will apply to Jordan’s new film, Just Mercy, and all subsequent Warner Bros., Turner and HBO productions.
In a statement, Jordan applauded Warner Bros. on the new policy.
“I’m proud that our film, Just Mercy, will be the first to formally represent the future we have been working toward, together. This is a legacy-bearing moment,” he said.
“Inclusivity has always been a no-brainer for me, especially as a black man in this business,” the Black Panther star added. “[But] it wasn’t until Frances McDormand spoke the two words that set the industry on fire—inclusion rider— that I realized we could standardize this practice.”
During the 2018 Oscar Ceremony, McDormand, accepting her award for Best Actress, introduced many to the term “inclusion rider,” a clause actors can write into their contracts that would require a specified level of diversity among the film’s cast and crew.
In his statement, Jordan said the idea of an inclusion rider allowed him to “formally pledge” his own production company, Outlier Society, “to a way of doing business.”
As the Times reports, the policy didn’t give any further specifics—raising questions about how exactly this policy would be measured and implemented. The company did say it will issue annual reports on the initiative’s progress.
As Variety notes, Warner Bros. is currently raking in the rewards of Crazy Rich Asians, which apart from being the first Asian-led Hollywood production in years, is the most successful romantic comedy in decades.
Meanwhile, Jordan’s Just Mercy, based on the life of Bryan Stevenson, then a talented young lawyer advocating for equal justice, has kicked off production, Variety reports. The legal drama also stars Brie Larson and Jamie Foxx.