Chanté Adams is ready for the world to see her breakout role in A Journal For Jordan. The romantic-drama, coproduced by Michael B. Jordan and directed by Denzel Washington, is based on a heartbreaking true story from the memoir, A Journal for Jordan: A Story of Love and Honour, by journalist Dana Canedy. Just like the book, the upcoming film recalls how Canedy and the late Sergeant Charles Monroe King first fell in love, as well as the journal King kept for his son, Jordan, before he died in Iraq.
"I'm not going to read the book unless I get the part."
Adams may look like a familiar face to those who saw Stella Meghie's The Photograph, but her portrayal of Dana marks her first lead role in a major feature film — which was an uphill battle in itself. For Adams, snagging her role in A Journal For Jordan took a couple of auditions — four to be exact. According to her, she's "gotten close to really big things in the past," but she still didn't want to get her hopes up.
"My first audition in the pandemic was with [Washington], just us two and the casting director in a room," she told POPSUGAR. "I'm like, 'No pressure, haven't done one of these in a year, but here I am.'" After reading the script and "bawling" her eyes out, Adams was still hesitant to get attached to the film. She even told herself, "I'm not going to read the book unless I get the part." "Because if I felt this way about the script, then I just knew that the book was going to dive deeper into those small nuances and my heart was really going to break," she added. "So literally the day I got the role, I ordered the book and it was there the next day. I finished it I think in five hours or something like that. I couldn't put it down. It [was] so amazing."
Many book-to-movie adaptations tend to stray away from the original's storyline in some aspects, but Adams assures those who are fans of Canedy's memoir that the movie honours the author's story in the best way. At most, the only fictional sections of the movie are the events that happened in 2018. "But everything that happens in their courting stage, when they fall in love, and having the baby, all of that is kind of spot-on to what she wrote in the book and what she experienced in real life."
"I would call her every day if I needed to and she would let me. Because this was her story and we were honouring her late fiancée and she wanted to make sure we got it right."
Portraying a real-life story like Canedy's onscreen, Adams made sure to consult with her to make certain her story was told as accurately as possible. "We had our first phone call very shortly after I got the role," Adams said. "So even though she was like, 'I'm an open book, you can call me anytime,' I was like, 'Okay, girl, [but] I don't want to bug you . . .' [Still,] I would call her every day if I needed to and she would let me. Because this was her story and we were honouring her late fiancée and she wanted to make sure we got it right."
Seeing Adams star alongside Jordan in the film is what many people are looking forward to, especially since it's the Creed actor's first time in a lead romantic role. "[Jordan] is such a generous scene partner and he's extremely supportive," she said. "From day one, he was just kind of like, 'This is your film and I'm going to support you through it. You tell me whatever you need and it'll get done.' That was just so big and spoke to the man that he is, and I was very grateful for that. He was amazing to work with."
A Journal For Jordan is a tearjerker for sure. Even Adams says "there are a lot of emotional scenes throughout this movie." She notes that several of the scenes are "very emotionally draining," but "at the end of the day, it's about just forming a cohesive story." Having the support of her cast and crew made telling this story easy for Adams. So when viewers see the movie, she anticipates they'll experience the same emotions she felt while filming, but also, take away so much more from the touching account of Canedy and King's life stories.
"I hope that from watching this movie, a new love and respect is developed for military spouses and the people behind the scenes who are supporting our women and men who are fighting overseas," she said. "It's a very sad movie, of course, but I hope that people leave the theatre hopeful to one day find love, find their Charles, find their Dana, and not be afraid of trying new things because you never know. It might be the love of your life."
A Journal For Jordan hits theatres on Christmas Day.