MEN IN BLACK IN­TER­NA­TIONAL Thor and Valkyrie re-team for a franchise re­boot…

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When Chris Hemsworth got hold of the script for Men In Black In­ter­na­tional, he im­me­di­ately knew which ‘friend from work’ to call up. “Chris was like, ‘Hey, leg­end, are we go­ing to rock this?’” re­calls Tessa Thomp­son of her Thor: Rag­narok co-star’s text sug­ges­tion that they buddy up again. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna!’”

Hav­ing re­freshed the Thor franchise with their bantz and comedic tim­ing, Thomp­son and Hemsworth had been look­ing for an­other project to work on to­gether – MIB’s re­turn with a gen­der twist un­der the guid­ance of Fast 8 di­rec­tor F. Gary Gray seemed like a per­fect fit. “We just had such a great time on that film,” says Hemsworth. “So when Tessa’s name was in the mix, it was like, ‘Aw, yeah – we can pick up where we left off. This will be easy.’”

Easy for the duo to fall back into their work-hus­band/work-wife dy­namic, but times have changed since the days of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’ 1997

de­but, fol­low­ing Agents J and K as they po­lice aliens on Earth, en­sur­ing hu­mans re­main bliss­fully un­aware of their ex­is­tence. Specif­i­cally, #TimesUp has changed things. Yeah, the ti­tle is Men In Black, but Thomp­son’s Woman in Black, Agent M, is as kick­ass and ca­pa­ble as her more volatile male buddy, Bri­tish Agent H. And they’re up against two other for­mi­da­ble

‘there’s al­ways been great women in these movies – it’s a con­tin­u­a­tion’ Tessa Thomp­son

women in the shapes of Re­becca Fer­gu­son’s Big Bad ET, Riza, and Emma Thomp­son’s re­turn­ing Agent O. “When I was cast, [peo­ple] were like, ‘MEN In Black? How do you rec­on­cile that?’” muses Thomp­son. “The truth is, there’s al­ways been re­ally great women in these movies. It’s a con­tin­u­a­tion.”

The dif­fer­ence is the glob­al­i­sa­tion of the MIB world – start­ing in the States be­fore trav­el­ling to Lon­don (where Liam Nee­son’s High T – ged­dit? – over­sees op­er­a­tions), Mar­rakech, Ischia and Paris on a glo­be­trot­ting mis­sion that takes in gonzo stunts de­signed by Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble’s supremo, Wade East­wood.

“There are chal­lenges in­her­ent in mak­ing it re­ally fresh, new and orig­i­nal,” ad­mits Thomp­son of tweak­ing a 20-year-old franchise for a new au­di­ence. Hemsworth nods, “We have such a great foun­da­tion there… we just have to not screw it up.”

ETA | 14 JunE / MEn In BlAck In­TEr­nA­TIonAl opEns In ThE suM­MEr.

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