Jonathan Majors Interview: Screen Talk Guest on the Oscars and the MCU

Jonathan Majors was driving from New York to Park City a few weeks ago when he stopped at a gas station, was recognized and realized he was a star. “Entertainment is a very personal industry,” Majors told IndieWire’s Screen Talk podcast recently, “like it or not.”

Majors marks the first time an actor has joined Screen Talk hosts Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson on their weekly podcast, but his rising profile in the industry made him a natural fit for a show that often examines the relationship between art and commerce in Hollywood. (It didn’t hurt that Majors, by his own admission, has been a student of Screen Talk since his days at Yale Drama School.)

While he was the main discovery of the Sundance hit “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” in 2019, Majors’ big breakthrough moment comes this month. In “Ant-Man and Wasp: Quantumania,” the scheming antagonist Kang is officially the new villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; at the same time, he appears opposite Michael B. Jordan in this week’s “Creed III” boxing title.

However, despite the huge blockbuster swings, Majors is also a poet, aspiring producer and actor who does not shy away from riskier, low-budget maneuvers. One of them, as a troubled bodybuilder in the 2023 Sundance premiere, “Magazine Dreams,” recently landed Searchlight distribution and has already been pegged as a contender for next year’s Oscar race.

Needless to say, Majors has a lot going on, but it has more to discuss than new releases. In an extensive Screen Talk conversation, Majors explained how he discovered acting after being arrested for shoplifting, and how he eventually ended up in drama school. He also talked about how his perspective on celebrity is evolving and how he struggles with the reviews of his work.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Screen Talk at this time of year without Oscar talk. As the most recent member of the Academy, Majors had a lot to say about this year’s nominees and didn’t mince words when it came to the controversy surrounding the resignations of Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler. “Spoiler alert: I am a young black African-American actor. I’m quite sensitive to the political climate, especially around the institutions I’m part of,” he said. “We have work to do.”

However, he highlighted one bright spot among this year’s nominees, another character from the MCU: “I love seeing Angela Bassett,” he said. “Your name must be engraved on the trail.”

On the topic of Marvel movies, Majors addressed the negative reviews of “Ant-Man” and how he handles criticism of his work (“If you’re a critic, I probably know you”). He explained why he took on a successful role and why he believes – in his words – that he works “in the service industry”.

Also on this week’s episode, Kohn and Thompson discuss recent wins at the PGA and SAG awards as Oscar voting enters its final days. Stay tuned next week for the final Oscar predictions.

Watch the full episode above or listen below.

Screen Talk is produced by Azwan Badruzaman, available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify, and hosted by Megaphone. Browse previous details here, subscribe hereand be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts tackle specific issues in future editions of Screen Talk.

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