Denzel Washington on Michael B. Jordan comparisons: 'I just know I like him'

Sipa USA

Michael B. Jordan and Denzel Washington have elicited comparisons before, with Jordan presumed to be Washington's metaphorical heir in the film industry, but they have made themselves inextricable now.

Jordan is starring in "A Journal for Jordan," directed by Washington. The film, based on a true story, is set to hit theaters Christmas Day. Jordan is the latest cover star for The Hollywood Reporter, and Washington was asked whether he recognizes himself in the 34-year-old leading man within the accompanying cover story.

"I just know I like him, and I can see why audiences love him too," Washington, 66, said. "Whatever that ‘It’ factor is, he has it."

Jordan added: "Denzel perfected 'leading man.' He was like, 'I’m going to f—king dominate this one thing and master it'—the specificity of that got him to the point where he is universal and can do anything. Will [Smith] took an enterprise approach, and that’s something I connect with. He says all the time that he doesn’t feel like he’s the most talented, but he works the hardest. It’s work ethic, big vision, marketability."

Jordan, who is set to make his directorial debut with "Creed III," previously commented directly on being compared to Washington in August, when TMZ approached him as he was leaving dinner in West Hollywood, Calif. "That's my mentor, man," Jordan said then. "It's all love, man."

A "Journal for Jordan" was adapted into a screenplay by Virgil Williams from Dana Canedy's 2008 memoir by the same name. Canedy, an acclaimed journalist to the tune of a Pulitzer Prize, wrote the book as a tribute to her late fiancé, U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Charles Monroe King, who died in Iraq in 2006. While away, King was writing a journal of advice for their then-infant son, Jordan.

In the movie, King is played by Jordan and Canedy by Chanté Adams. Watch the trailer below.

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