ABC/Rick RowellTessa Thompson portrays the first main female agent in the Men In Black franchise in the new movie Men in Black: International, and she reveals that she refused to repeat Will Smith’s catchphrase from the original Men in Black in 1997: “I make this look good.”
“I wouldn’t have said it. In fact, I think someone did ask me to — just as an option — and I said no,” Thompson tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Smith portrayed Agent J in the first two films in the franchise, but doesn’t return in Men in Black: International. Thompson stars as Agent M, who fulfills her dream of working for the secret spy organization.
“M is just different from that character,” she says. “Yeah, I was really conscious of too much nostalgia.”
The 35-year-old actress is very proud to be a female star of one of the most heavily promoted films of the year. She says the push for more lead roles for women in Hollywood was not a concern when Men in Black launched in 1997.
“One cool thing about revisiting films 22 years later is you get to make them with a modern sensibility,” she says. “I mean, the modern sensibility now, and the time that we’re in, would allow for a woman like me to topline a studio film like this, and I think that’s impactful.”
“It certainly introduces a whole new generation to it, a generation of young women and young boys, who get to follow a protagonist that looks like me,” she adds.
“I think that means something,” Thompson says. “I think it’s something new, fresh and not nostalgic. It just didn’t exist 20 years ago, and I’m happy that it does now.”
Men in Black: International opened in theaters Friday.
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