Avengers: Endgame, Thor: Ragnarok (Valkyrie)
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Tessa Thompson is a critically acclaimed actress who captivates audiences’ attention from her scene-stealing roles in film, television, and theater.
Upcoming, Thompson will voice the titular character ‘Lady’ in Disney’s live-action, re-imagining of Lady and the Tramp, opposite Justin Theroux, who will voice ‘Tramp.’ Based on the 1955 animated picture of the same name, the film will premiere on November 12th on the studio’s new streaming service, Disney+.
In November 2021 Thompson will also reprise her role as fan-favorite, ‘Valkyrie,’ in the fourth installment of the world-renowned Thor franchise, Thor: Love and Thunder. She originated the role in 2017 in Thor: Ragnarok, opposite Chris Hemsworth. Directed by Taika Waititi, the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster film grossed over 800 million worldwide and also starred Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, and Mark Ruffalo. She was last seen as ‘Valkyrie’ in a brief appearance in Avengers: Endgame this past April.
This past year, Thompson wrapped production on Sylvie, of which she executive produces and co-stars alongside Nnamdi Asomugha. Set in New York City during the '50s and '60s, the story follows Sylvie (Thompson) who meets aspiring saxophonist Robert (Asomugha) after he takes a job at her father’s record store in Harlem. Following a summer romance that comes to an end, the two fatefully reconnect several years later to find that their feelings for each other have never disappeared.
Thompson most recently starred as ‘Agent M’ opposite Chris Hemsworth in Sony Pictures’ Men in Black: International. Produced by Laurie MacDonald and Walter F. Parkes, and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the alien franchise featured new characters who, apart from protecting the Earth from extraterrestrial attacks, tackled their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization. Directed by F. Gary Gray, the film released on June 14, 2019 and also starred Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani, and Rebecca Ferguson.
In April 2019, Thompson starred as ‘Ollie’ in the NEON independent drama, Little Woods, opposite Lily James. Executive produced by Thompson, the film is a modern Western that centers on the story of two estranged sisters, Ollie (Thompson) and Deb (James), who are driven to work outside the law to better their lives. The film debuted at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival on April 21st and was released on April 19th.
In Summer 2018, Thompson starred as 'Detroit’ in revolutionary director Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, opposite Lakeith Stanfield and also starring Armie Hammer. The dark comedy tells the story of a black telemarketer (Stanfield) who finds himself in a macabre universe within present-day Oakland, California, after he alters the sound of his voice in order to obtain professional success. Following its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, the film was acquired by Annapurna Pictures and later received numerous accolades such as an NAACP Image Award nomination, Film Independent Spirit Award, National Board of Review Award, and a Gotham Audience Award, to name a few. The groundbreaking film released in July 2018.
In February 2018, Thompson starred as ‘Josie Radek’ in Director Alex Garland (Ex Machina) and producer Scott Rudin’s (The Social Network) sci-fi thriller, Annihilation, opposite Natalie Portman and alongside Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Sonoya Mizuno. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, the film tells the story of a team of scientists who sign up for a dangerous expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature do not apply. Distributed by Paramount Pictures, the film released on February 23rd.
In 2015, Thompson appeared as local singer-songwriter, ‘Bianca,’ in the Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Pictures, Creed. This past November, Thompson reprised her role in MGM’s sports drama, Creed II, opposite Michael B. Jordan. Screenplay co-written by Sylvester Stallone and executive produced by Jordan and award-winning filmmaker, Ryan Coogler (Black Panther and the first installment of Creed), the sequel centers on Apollo Creed’s son and heavyweight contender, Adonis Johnson (Jordan) as he faces Russian brawler Viktor Dragor, son of a powerful athlete who killed Creed in the ring from Rocky IV. The film was released on November 21, 2018.
In 2014, Thompson portrayed the civil rights activist ‘Diane Nash’ in the Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey-produced film, Selma. After its initial premiere at the American Film Institute Festival on November 11th, in 2015 the drama received a wider theatrical release on January 9th, and a commemorative re-release on March 20th, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the historical voting march in Montgomery. As a result of the film’s critical recognition, it garnered a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination for “Best Picture.
Additionally, in 2014, Thompson starred as ‘Samantha White’ in Director Justin Simien’s independent satirical drama, Dear White People. The thought-provoking film focused on the escalating racial tensions at a fictitious, prestigious Ivy League college from the perspective of several black students. Following the film’s debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, it released in theaters on October 17th, and after receiving favorable reviews her performance landed her a Gotham Award for “Breakthrough Actor,” as well as a nomination for “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture” for the 46th Annual NAACP Image Awards.
In television, Thompson stars in the Emmy nominated, hit HBO drama series Westworld as ‘Charlotte Hale,’ a mysterious and savvy provocateur with a unique perspective of Westworld. Executive produced by J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan and inspired by writer-director Michael Crichton’s 1973 feature of the same name, the show is described as a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin. Also starring Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, and Jeffrey Wright, the series garnered a total of 43 Emmy nominations combined from its first and second seasons. Thompson is currently in production on the third season.
During the Spring of 2016, Thompson made her Off-Broadway debut as ‘Valerie’ in the Second Stage Theater production, Smart People, alongside Joshua Jackson, Mahershala Ali, and Anne Son. Written by Lydia R. Diamond and directed by Kenny Leon, Smart People takes place during President Barack Obama’s final term in 2008 and analyzes his journey to the White House and how his race changed the conversation about race itself. The performance ran from January 26th through March 6th.
Thompson’s career took off at the young age of 18 following her professional debut as ‘Juliet’ in the Romeo and Juliet: Antebellum New Orleans 1836 theater performance, for which she received an NAACP Image Award nomination. In 2006, she made her first feature film appearance as ‘Scarlet’ in the horror film remake of When a Stranger Calls. Between 2008 and 2009, Thompson also appeared in the films Make it Happen, The Human Contract, Periphery, Red & Blue Marbles, and Mississippi Damned for which she was awarded a Grand Jury prize in the category for “Best Actress.” Additional film credits include ‘Nyla/Purple’ in Tyler Perry’s film For Colored Girls, War on Everyone, and Furlough.
Additionally, Thompson’s other television credits include ‘Jackie Cook’ on the second season of the hit drama Veronica Mars, ‘Sara Freeman’ on BBC’s first original scripted program Copper, and guest roles in the CW’s sci-fi drama Heroes, ‘CBS’s police series Cold Case, ABC’s medical series Grey’s Anatomy, the CW’s teen drama Hidden Palms, NBC’s Life, ABC’s Private Practice, TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles, ABC’s Off the Map, and ABC’s 666 Park Avenue.
Thompson currently resides in Los Angeles.