After having a stunning turn as the Marvel superheroine Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok and before she hits screens in the new Men in Black film, Tessa Thompson is back once again as the female lead in the Creed sequel, Creed II, as Bianca Taylor, partner to the film's namesake Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan).
In the sequel, Bianca has evolved as a singer with progressive hearing loss who was booking indie stages to a star in her own right, performing at bigger venues and festivals, complete with a bigger sound. If hearing loss will one day interfere with her dreams of professional singing, she's going to go as big and as hard as she can, while she can.
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“Wildly, some time has passed for Bianca and myself," Thompson told Shadow and Act. "That’s one thing we talked about in her evolution and the ways in which she has matured, and we wanted her music to reflect that.”
Thompson is an incredible singer off-screen, as well, and performed songs in the original film that were included on the soundtrack.
“The first time around, I felt so lucky that I really got to write that music and sit in the studio and the artists that produced all my music," Thompson said. "And this time around, we really wanted to see about her having more of a pop sensibility that she’s evolved from this indie artist that's happy to make music in her living room to be an artist that really wants to make a splash in a big way.”
To make this big splash, music heavyweights were brought in. “We had some folks come in and we enlisted them to make her sound bigger. James Fauntleroy was one, he worked on an incredible song, ‘I Will Go To War,' which I think is a big, sort of theatrical moment in the movie. Bibi Bourelly came in. We wrote a song together. She’s an incredible indie musician who does her own work but writes for Rihanna and folks like that," she said. "It was so much fun, but to me, I like to find something that is challenging and certainly the musical aspect of the character is something that does that for me."
While Creed is a boxing film at heart, it is also a powerful Black love story between the characters of Bianca and her boxer beau Adonis. Thompson expressed how crucial that aspect of the film was to them. “That was something that was really important to us. The beauty, I think, of these films, the first Rocky, that’s a love story, just set in the world of boxing," she said. "We also wanted to tell a story about millennial love, as well, and have love that feels specific, universal and everyone can relate to, but also feels uniquely Black," she said.
"An expression of his love is taking out her hair, and so many Black women came up to me like, ‘Oh my goodness,' like, 'That’s the kind of love I want!’ or ‘That reminded me of me and my boo!’ And that feels so good, because I feel like it is powerful to go into a cinema and see your experience reflected. There really is a lack when you can’t experience that, so culturally, I think it is really important and really rich."
Creed II is in theaters Nov. 20.