There are many on-screen romantic acting duos we love. Julia Roberts and George Clooney. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. But we must admit, no pairing has the power to melt our hearts quite like Tessa Thompson and Michael B. Jordan.
‘I think my favourite thing about working with Mike is that he really is a very kind human,’ Thompson tells ELLE UK about her co-star during a game of Ask Me Anything.
‘I’m so proud of him, and I think he did such a fantastic job and directed something that’s not easy to do. But I’m also of the belief that it’s not just how good a film you make, but what was the process of making the thing like and how good did you make that for other people around you? He made a really joyful experience for everyone. To do that, and to also make a great quality film is really hard to do.
‘And it’s a very rare thing. He was never grumpy... maybe cute grumpy occasionally to me, but I never saw him grumpy to anyone else, and I’m very proud of him for that because we all get grumpy.’
Thompson stars opposite actor Jordan in his directorial debut, Creed III, as singer/songwriter Bianca who deals with progressive hearing loss and is married to famous boxing champion Adonis Creed (Jordan). The actor recently admitted to having undergone couples therapy with her co-star as their characters ‘to see what that felt like as a couple that is many years into a relationship’.
While the pair might have learnt a lot about their friendship and on-screen chemistry, Thompson says the same can’t be said for her knowledge of boxing.
‘I’ve learnt absolutely nothing about fighting in the ring because I feel like every time I make one of these movies I learn something and then I promptly forget it,’ she jokes. ‘I just end up watching it, I get so invested so invested that all ideas that ideas of technique and sport go out the window and I’m just yelling at the oiled men fighting, so I don’t know anything about boxing anymore.’
'I would rate myself as a boxer pretty good, I mean that sincerely. I think if I trained I’d be pretty good. Not at any face punching but I’m good at some of the bag stuff.'
Recalling her time shooting the latest Rocky spin-off film with nine-year-old deaf actor Mila Davis-Kent, Thompson says she loved learning to sign with the star. ‘My favourite word or phrase in sign language, especially on this film, is "I love you". Because when I would say it to Mila, who plays my daughter Amara, we’d do this thing where we’d lock it,’ she notes, locking her fingers together, ‘which is what she does with her mum’.
‘I absolutely saw the sign language interpreter at the Rihanna concert, she was amazing, she’s a star, and I spent a lot of time on her Instagram…’ she continues, referencing 20-year-old Justina Miles, a deaf American Sign Language (ASL) performer.
‘I think our society tends to really have a bias towards the hearing world and I think these kinds of moments are really impactful because they remind us to unpack that bias and to get to do that on such a huge stage at the Super Bowl is really fantastic, and I’m hoping our film gets to add to that conversation keep going.’
The actor, who is known for starring as Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, also opens up about the Westworld character she’d love to play, in addition to leads Dolores Abanathy and Charlotte Hale. ‘On Westworld, if I’d had had my wishes, I would’ve played Jeffrey Wright’s character Bernard because I just like to do Jeffrey Wright’s voice… that thing that he does,’ she says, imitating the James Bond actor’s husky tones.’
She adds: ‘I would like to be on White Lotus. I don’t even need a starring… I could just have a cameo on White Lotus on this new season or anything. Or whatever Jennifer Coolidge is doing next. Whatever she’s doing in television next, if they need someone to just be there with her. I’m available if they need a baby dolphin…’ she jokes, referencing the Golden Globe winner’s desire to play a dolphin at some point.
From having the Succession sound track stuck in her head, to her biggest eyebrow beauty mistake, watch the rest of Tess Thompson’s Ask Me Anything video at the top of this article.
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