Tessa Thompson is slowly taking over Hollywood, and we are here for it! While the actress has been appearing in film and TV shows for more than a decade, she only really became a breakout star in the last few years. Now, 2019 is primed to truly be the year of Tessa Thompson.
In her upcoming role in MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL, which comes to AMC on June 14, Thompson will get to play a leading part in what could be her biggest movie yet. Before the new MIB reboot hits theatres, we’re taking a look back at Thompson’s career, from her earlier parts to her recent roles in blockbuster favorites.
Tessa Thompson Throwback
Thompson was born in Los Angeles in 1983 to an Afro-Panamanian father and a Mexican-European mother. Before getting into acting, Thompson studied cultural anthropology at Santa Monica College in California. In 2002, Thompson made her acting debut in a stage production of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” followed by playing Juliet in a 2003 reimagining of Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” — which earned her an NAACP Theatre Award nomination.
Thanks to those early efforts, Thompson caught the acting bug. It wasn’t long before she made her first appearance on TV, in a 2005 episode of “Cold Case.” That was followed by memorable recurring roles on “Veronica Mars” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” After appearing in a handful of movies, Thompson began to gain attention on the big screen in movies like 2010’s FOR COLORED GIRLS.
Breakthrough and Beyond
Thompson really began to pick up steam in 2014 with roles in Ava DuVernay’s MLK biopic SELMA and Justin Simien’s indie hit DEAR WHITE PEOPLE. In 2015, she seriously turned heads in CREED, the ROCKY sequel directed by Ryan Coogler. Thompson portrayed Bianca Taylor, a talented musician and love interest of Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed. She even wrote her own songs for the film!
It’s been an upward trajectory ever since. Thompson’s career took off into the stratosphere — literally, in the case of THOR: RAGNAROK. The actress played the awesome warrior Valkyrie in the hilariously wacky THOR sequel. At the same time, Thompson dominated the small screen with a leading role on “Westworld,” the hit HBO sci-fi series inspired by the 1973 movie from the author of JURASSIC PARK. In the show’s second season, her role was expanded, thanks in part to Thompson’s rising stardom.
Then, there was the acclaimed sci-fi drama ANNIHILATION, opposite Natalie Portman and Gina Rodriguez, and an appearance in “Dirty Computer,” the visual album by Janelle Monáe. The actress reprised her role as Bianca in CREED II and appeared in two episodes of “Dear White People,” the Netflix series based on the indie film of the same name.
Thompson Goes International
2019 will be Thompson’s biggest year yet: After returning to the MCU as Valkyrie in AVENGERS: ENDGAME, she’ll lead her very own blockbuster franchise when she reunites with Marvel star Chris Hemsworth in MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL.
The film is part reboot and part sequel to the original trilogy, and Thompson plays Agent M, a newcomer to the ultra-secret agency that polices extraterrestrials on Earth. She’s joined by Hemsworth’s Agent H, Liam Neeson as High T (the head of the UK agency), and Emma Thompson (no relation), reprising her role from MEN IN BLACK 3, as Agent O. We can’t wait to see Tessa Thompson rock the black suit and shades as she chases aliens.
MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL comes to AMC on June 14.