Jonathan Majors had a genuine real-world connection to his character, Damian, in Creed III. The childhood friend of Adonis Creed, Damian spent a significant amount of time behind bars before eventually finding his way back to his friend’s side. After years of estrangement, Donnie struggles to reconnect with him before their long-established bond shatters.
Damian is the main villain of Creed III, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a relatable and sympathetic figure. While Majors can’t relate to being a world champion boxer, he has found some points of connection with Damian, thanks to his time in juvenile detention. In an interview with GamesRadar+, Majors revealed how his own childhood helped him figure the character out.
“Although I was never incarcerated, I did deal with juvenile detention, in-school suspension, expulsions… all the way up until adulthood. So I understood that, you know? But my big connection to it was the fact that the man who raised me was an ex-con, as gross as the word is. He had been incarcerated for 15 years before we found each other. I believe that his sole purpose in my life was to get me to adulthood.
“My mother and him parted ways, but he still remained… I mean, he’s my stepfather. To this day, I see him as my stepdad, you know? So I understood, second-hand, the incarcerated mind. I witnessed it, what that development is… I spent my time as a boy on a farm and in the hood, as we say in the States – you know, in council housing. That’s my upbringing, period. So I understand that hunger, and the engine it takes to be, quote unquote, ‘world champion’. That’s a big engine, and that takes a lot of horsepower. I connected on that – to show people one’s worth; to be worthy, you know?”
How Damian’s History Influenced Creed III
The conflict between Damian and Adonis is at the core of Creed III — and the core of their characters. Every scene depicting Damian struggling to exercise in dimly lit squalor, while Adonis lives the high life filled with wealth and comfort, furthers that theme. To some extent, the winner of the Adonis-Damian fight doesn’t matter quite as much as the fact that the fight is about the contrast of their lives and their endings.
Majors was able to connect to Damian because of his own difficult history, and it helps to make Damian a complex and emotional character. While Damian’s behavior in Creed III is often abhorrent, his history and his rough path still make him feel distinctly relatable. Without that sense of history between Damian and Adonis, the film would have lacked its emotional undercurrent.
Damian’s drive also makes the movie more interesting. Even having just been released from prison, Damian is a skilled fighter with more than enough capability to claim the championship, if he can only play his cards right. While Damian’s future is murky, he could someday carry a franchise of his own after Creed III solely because of the strength of Majors’ connection to him and his subsequent performance.
More: How Creed 3’s Rotten Tomatoes Score Ranks Against The Rocky FranchiseSource: GamesRadar+