Tessa Thompson: It Shouldn’t Be ‘Noteworthy’ That Women Are Leading Films
Photo by Giles Keyt

Just before getting the green light to suit up and slip on those signature sunnies, Tessa Thompson’s character, Agent M (also known as “Molly”), lets it be known why she’s perfect for the job: “I’m smart. I’m motivated. I look good in black.”

For Men in Black International—which hits theaters today—Thompson and co-star Chris Hemsworth (or Agent H as in “Harry”) join forces to fight the good fight and protect the world from alien threat.

Thompson told ESSENCE earlier this month that it’s about time a woman stepped into the front lines of the MIB franchise and the secretive quasi-governemental agency.

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“There’s always been women inside of the organization in these films but there’s never been a woman at the forefront at one of these narratives,” the former ESSENCE cover star said. “I’d like to get to a space where inside of Hollywood that is less noteworthy—where we’re just used to seeing that.”

Without giving too much away, just know that there are epic around-the-globe battle scenes, an internal threat up at the London headquarters, as well as a villainous duo (portrayed by Les Twins of Beyonce’s Homecoming fame) whose sole mission is to wreck complete and utter havoc. 

Helmed by veteran director, F. Gary Gray, MIB International marks the third teaming of Thompson and Hemsworth, who’ve shared the big screen for Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame.

When it comes to the synergy between Agent M and Agent H, Thompson has it pegged. 

“They’re as different as night and day; it’s a head-versus-heart thing,” Thompson explained. “She’s cerebral and he operates from the gut, so they have some fundamentally different approaches and priorities.”

So, how does she feel about being a part of this beloved, blockbuster franchise? Thompson smiled, then sums it up in one word: “Surreal!”


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