Actor Jonathan Majors at the Sundance Film Festival in 2023.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
By Greg Braxton/Los Angeles Times
Majors was thrilled to be swept up in a whirlwind that had anointed him the hottest, freshest face in Hollywood. But he was also awarethatsuccess of the magnitude he had achieved could come crashing down at any moment.
“Though I’ve not seen the boogeyman, I know it’s out there,” Majors told the Associated Press in an interview published in March. “And I’ve been around to know it’s comin’. I won’t go down my rabbit hole of death, but it’s comin’. But you outrun it. You just stay out of the frame. I’ll stay out of the frame, make my work.”
That work ignited awards buzz this year with the Sundance competition film “Magazine Dreams” just before his key turns in back-to-back No. 1 movies — as super-villain Kang the Conqueror in Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and as Michael B. Jordan’s vicious opponent Damian Anderson in “Creed III” — delighted audiences. And it brought the 33-year-old from breakout roles in the indie film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” to the brink of superstardom, his ascension propelled by sexy magazine covers and consistently strong performances in projects such as “Loki,” “The Harder They Fall” and “Devotion.”
Few witnesses to this meteoric rise could have foreseen that the “boogeyman” he spoke of was so close around the corner, sending shock waves through the industry and potentially capsizing a promising career.
In one of the most dizzying rise-and-fall stories in recent Hollywood history, the muscular actor has retreated from public view, hisreputation stained since he was arrested March 25 and charged with misdemeanor assault and harassment of a 30-year-old woman in New York. The U.S. Army has since scuttled ads featuring the former “Army brat,” and his management, Entertainment 360, and public relations firm, the Lede Co., dropped him. He has reportedly been booted from several future projects, including a film based on Walter Mosley’s novel “The Man in My Basement” and an ad campaign for the Texas Rangers baseball team.
A complaint filed by the Manhattan district attorney’s office details the unnamed woman accusing Majors of striking her “about the face with an open hand, causing substantial pain and a laceration behind her ear.” He also allegedly grabbed her hand, “causing swelling, bruising, and substantial pain to her finger” and “put his hand on her neck.”
A subsequent statement by the New York Police Department said the woman told officers she had been assaulted in a “domestic dispute” and was taken to a hospital with what they called minor injuries to the head and neck. The alleged victim has since been granted a full temporary restraining order. Variety reported in April that “multiple alleged abuse victims of Majors have come forward following his March arrest and are cooperating with the Manhattan district attorney’s office.”
Majors and his representatives have denied the allegations, insisting that he will be cleared of all charges. With specifics still to shake out, a number of the actor’s most important industry partners have stayed mum: Disney, which owns Marvel Studios, has not distanced itself from Majors, despite speculation that it could recast the Kang character in future projects, including a 2025 movie featuring the superhero group the Avengers. The date for the Season 2 premiere of “Loki,” which features Majors as Kang, remains in limbo.
Majors also remains attached to a Lionsgate film about eccentric basketball star Dennis Rodman; an Amazon Studios film, “Da Understudy,” to be directed by Spike Lee; and an untitled Amazon series about a rigorous ROTC military academy.
Majors as Kang the Conqueror in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”