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Total Film - - Making Of Creed Ii -

You’re keen to make Creed II ac­cu­rately re­flect its au­di­ence from a gen­der and eth­nic per­spec­tive. Is that some­thing that’s im­por­tant in all of your work?

Yeah. The other thing is – be­yond a po­lit­i­cal agenda – I want to do things that are in­ter­est­ing to me. I want to make movies that I want to watch. If I were to be locked into a space that is known and de­fined by ra­cial or gen­der pa­ram­e­ters, I wouldn’t be able to do in­ter­est­ing work. So I’m re­ally happy to get to live and work in a time where peo­ple are in­ter­ested in hav­ing a more ex­pan­sive idea of rep­re­sen­ta­tion. In the last cou­ple of years, I felt re­ally lucky to get to work on such dif­fer­ent kinds of con­tent; that I can make a re­ally small drama like in Lit­tle Woods with Lily James, or with a first-time film­maker that can make a film like Sorry To Bother You, or that a stu­dio film like Creed II, or that I can be work­ing on a fran­chise like Men In Black. It’s not lost on me that that sort of con­tent di­ver­sity is some­thing that is re­ally, re­ally new for a per­son like me, and that is some­thing that is still not af­forded enough to women like me.

You’ve moved into pro­duc­ing with a story about real-world jewel thief Doris Payne. Is it also im­por­tant to take what you’ve learnt and cre­ate new op­por­tu­ni­ties for other peo­ple?

I think so. It’s also that you work in this busi­ness so long as an ac­tor, it’s some­times very easy to feel like a cog. So a part of it, when we talk about agency, is to take it. The Doris Payne [film] is a story that I’ve been chas­ing for a long time. I can’t wait to play her. And I love the idea of pro­duc­ing and cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, and maybe one day di­rect­ing.

Are you watch­ing ev­ery di­rec­tor that you’re work­ing with, and tak­ing bits of what they do?

Yeah. I started years ago. I was work­ing on this BBC Amer­ica show called Cop­per, and in the sec­ond sea­son I got to shadow on that. And now, hav­ing friends like Vic­to­ria Ma­honey, who is the sec­ond unit di­rec­tor on Star Wars: Episode IX, and talk­ing to her about her ex­pe­ri­ences… I also had a chance to sit and hang out with Greta Ger­wig a cou­ple of times, ask­ing tonnes of ques­tions. It’s the start­ing that is the hard­est bit. I think it’s prob­a­bly go­ing to de­mand I take a lit­tle bit of time off from be­ing in front of the cam­era, and get­ting be­hind it.

Tessa Thomp­son is ready for ev­ery­thing…

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