Young actor Jaden Michael is about to skyrocket into stardom. The 18-year-old stars as a young Colin Kaepernick in the Netflix limited series Colin In Black & White, which is out now. The series was created by the former NFL star and filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Colin In Blake & White follows a young Colin through his time growing up in a White adoptive family and the first few years of his football career. It all leads to a defining moment in Colin’s life when he kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and the oppression of Black people in America.
Jaden already boasts a number of impressive credits to his filmography, so fans can rest assured that the teen star is more than ready to meet the challenge of playing Colin. HollywoodLife has rounded up 5 key things to learn about Jaden.
1. Jaden began acting as a child.
The young star’s first credit came in 2009, appearing in the short film Love Seat. Jaden would have been roughly 6 years old at the time. From there, his film career truly flourished, landing major roles in films like Wonderstruck, Paterson, and more.
2. Jaden’s best-known work is on TV.
Jaden’s biggest role came with the Netflix series The Get Down, where he played Rafe in the 2016 series created by acclaimed filmmaker Baz Lurhmann. More recently, Jaden played Lucas on the TV series The Bug Diaries and starred in the Netflix movie Vampires vs. The Bronx.
3. Colin had a hand in choosing Jaden to play him.
Jaden didn’t just earn the role of the former NFL star based on an audition in front of a room of Hollywood executives. The man he played in the series had a major role in choosing Jaden. Colin serves as a producer on the 6-episode Netflix series and couldn’t believe he had the opportunity to cast a younger version of himself for the show. “I never thought I would be casting a young me in a show about my life,” Colin tweeted on October 27. “I can’t wait for the world to see [Jaden Michael] be an all-star on [Netflix].
4. Colin has been an inspiration to Jaden.
“He was a role model for me. My family, they love football, so I had known about his career,” Jaden said on The Drew Barrymore Show. “I wasn’t a huge sports guy, so I wasn’t as invested as my family was, but when I saw him kneeling it completely changed how I looked at him and how I viewed him.” He added, “I’ve always been someone who, if you have any sort of influence over a group, you should use it for change, for positive change, and he personally embodies that.”
5. He fasted for a month before filming.
While on The Drew Barrymore Show, Jaden revealed that he told Ava, the series co-creator, that he was going to “fast” for a month so that he could look “really skinny” and look more similar to Colin’s frame. As filming progressed, Jaden started building back muscle.