The Woman In Black: Why Tessa Thompson Is The Perfect New Movie Star

The Woman In Black: Why Tessa Thompson Is The Perfect New Movie Star
The Woman In Black: Why Tessa Thompson Is The Perfect New Movie Star
Video: The Woman In Black: Why Tessa Thompson Is The Perfect New Movie Star
Video: LOL! Why Tessa Thompson’s ‘Creed’ Co-Star Michael B. Jordan Is Mad at Her 2023, February

Text: Sergey Stepanov

"Men in Black: International" released is another potential blockbuster starring 35-year-old American actress Tessa Thompson. In the action-packed, witty and surprisingly hardy franchise about the aliens among us, Tessa plays Agent M, the newest star of the top-secret title organization, dazzling in tandem with the more experienced Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). Thompson comes to replace Will Smith, and this is not surprising: for today's Hollywood, Tessa is as iconic as Smith was for the blockbusters of the 1990s. Here's why.


The daughter of an African American and a mother with half Mexican roots, Tessa grew up between Los Angeles and Brooklyn and often changed schools, by the last grades of which she found an original way to combat racism for beginners - organizing "racially harmonious" sleepovers that invited teenagers of all ethnic groups represented in the school. In their first season, Thompson represented African Americans, in the second - Mexicans, in the third she tried (unsuccessfully) to fulfill the quota "for whites" - both flexibility and a tendency to introspection were always peculiar to her. “I could hide my hair under a baseball cap, and suddenly people began to treat me differently, believing that they were dealing with a boy,” Tessa told Net-A-Porter in a sensational interview. - Perhaps this is what attracted me to acting. I look at people and think about how they made themselves that way."

Having started as it should be with Shakespeare (culminating in the title role in Romeo and Juliet adapted to the realities of New Orleans in the 1830s), Thompson was first seen in the TV series Veronica Mars, but made a name for herself by choosing film roles, preferring to work with directed by African American and cover the theme of African American identity. Tina Mabry's missed Cursed Mississippi radar and Tyler Perry's coolly received Love Songs were followed by the more successful Selma by Ava Duvernay and Dear White Men by Justin Simien. The Netflix series of the same name began as an award-winning festival satire that matched Tessa's acting aspirations more or less perfectly: she's about "a black woman who turns out to be not the object of narrative, but the subject of conversation."

At school, Tessa held "racially harmonious" overnight parties, where teenagers of all ethnic groups represented in the school were invited

The same can be said for the role that became a full-fledged, large-caliber breakthrough for Thompson. “In the first Creed, we were able to create a distinctive heroine - a free, independent woman, whose inner world is so rich that it would be enough for a separate story,” explains Tessa, who least of all wanted to play another boxer's girlfriend. - She had her own life before meeting him - and will be after. She's not here to keep a water bottle at the ring. " By traditional standards, a very masculine and rather unyielding - even in the strong hands of Ryan Coogler - of the sports drama genre Bianca performed by Thompson is indeed a revelation: being an ambitious singer (as if written off from FKA twigs), she suffers from progressive hearing loss, and in last year's sequel is going through an even more serious personal drama.

Last year, the black comedy Sorry to Bother You, the directorial debut of rapper and activist Boots Riley, who shot a wild and inspirational sur about a black guy (Luckit Stanfield), whose “white voice” helps him become a telemarketing star and move with a friend from his uncle garage to an apartment with a view.Yes, Thompson is again someone's girlfriend, but this again does not bother her (and should not): “I grew up watching films like Being John Malkovich or Adaptation, but it always seemed to me that like me, they are not available. To see black actors in the context of magical realism is my old dream. " Is it necessary to clarify that in the genre of a Hollywood attraction with trunks, "ray-bans" and alien creatures, Tessa hopes not only to have fun: "In the midst of all this escapism, there is a chance to say something - by making a film where there is a heart and satire, but without reading the notations."


The conquest of Hollywood peaks slightly slowed down Tessa's musical career (whose father, Mark Anthony Thompson, is the leader of the Chocolate Genius, Inc., who worked in theater and cinema and played with Bruce Springsteen). Meanwhile, she not only recorded and toured as part of the Los Angeles band Caught a Ghost (seen on the soundtrack to "Dear White People"), but continues to write her own songs - which, in particular, she sang as Bianca in both "Creeds". One of them - performed at the moment when Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) went out to fight in the ring in Moscow - was not inspired by any FKA twigs, but by the most that neither is Rihanna, but by the pop star closest to Tessa's heart remains Janelle Monet.

The relationship between Tessa and Janelle (who, by her admission, is pansexual) is the subject of speculation, largely provoked by Thompson herself, who once said, separated by commas, that “she is attracted to both men and women,” that she and Monet “love each other with all our hearts. "And" vibrate at the same frequency. " Refusing to label her own sexuality, Tessa was much more willing to discuss her heroine in the last "Torah": through the efforts of the actress, the local Valkyrie, portrayed in Marvel comics by the blond northern goddess, became a bisexual of mixed blood. Among the idols Thompson (who is extremely interested in the concept of "identity" and who succeeded in constructing it by pop-culture chameleons) are David Bowie and Eartha Kitt, whose role Tessa dreams of playing someday.

Refusing to sculpt a label

on her own sexuality, Tessa was much more willing to discuss her heroine in the last "Torah"

And right now, her resume is hit after hit. Over the past couple of years, Thompson has blended into a whole series of long-running stories - from the same Creed (which is so successful that it is unlikely to do without another sequel) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (where Valkyrie is appointed Thor's replacement) and from Westworld (where the actress convincingly plays a woman whom hardly anyone would want to face in life) to "Men in Black". Tessa's career has been so remarkable that a year ago she was nominated for a BAFTA in the Rising Star category (with real juniors like Timothy Chalamet and Florence Pugh), and not so long ago was put on the cover of Time magazine's next generation leaders.

And absolutely to the point. Such a quick reunion of Hemsworth and Thompson is partly dictated by the historically inherent lack of imagination of studio bosses, but in this particular case they can be understood: "Thor: Ragnarok" is an excellent example of a modern blockbuster, which is doing well not only with fees, but also with representativeness, and not only with fan service, but also with dynamics (in rom-coms it is customary to call it "chemistry") in the on-screen relations of their stars. “I didn't think we would be reunited so soon,” Tessa admits diplomatically. - And I certainly did not suspect that we would be in suits. But it's nice to know that people like to see us together."

She studied cultural anthropology in college, supported Bernie Sanders in the presidential race three years ago ("I have no doubt who is a feminist with Hillary"), despises all kinds of binarity and is ready for a career as a film producer (among her future projects - 1950s Harlem melodrama and biopic Doris Payne, who has been a virtuoso jewel thief for sixty years; in both cases, Tessa plays the main roles), Thompson is a Hollywood star of the new model. Not cashed record checks and not nominated (yet) for "Oscars", but knows what she wants, what the audience needs and what year we live in. “Millennial love is not a woman waiting at home for a man. This is a woman who shows how relationships work, where everyone strives for something."

Photos: WDSSPR, HBO, pathefilms, Paramount Pictures

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