Creed 3’s Tessa Thompson On Working With Michael B. Jordan As A Director And How He Helped Her Further Develop Her Character

Tessa Thompson in Creed
(Image credit: MGM)

Since they starred alongside each other in the first Creed film, Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson have built a rapport that moviegoers have come to love. While their characters Bianca Taylor and Adonis Creed have romantic chemistry, Jordan and Thompson’s playful banter and warm praise for one another have proved the two actors are more like brother and sister. On that note, Thompson was proud when the star was named the director of the upcoming third film. Now, she's getting candid about how his new role affected their dynamic and how he helped to further develop her character.

A first-time directing gig could be stressful for any actor, especially if you’re starring in and producing the project. One of the biggest challenges said person has to face is directing their co-stars. But when it came to Tessa Thompson and Michael B. Jordan during the production of Creed 3, there was no negative impact on their on or off-screen relationship. Thompson said to THR about Jordan’s ability to manage both jobs:

I thought that it would, but it didn’t. It was so interesting because I wondered what it would be like for Mike to have to be a scene partner and a director. But when we were doing the scene work, he felt entirely in it. We got back into those character dynamics very easily. The only thing that was different was the time. We’d do the scene, and then he would have to go to the monitor sometimes to watch. So that felt a little different. But dynamically, we were just in the pocket of what we’ve been doing.

It's great to hear that the leading man's new responsibilities didn’t negatively impact his dynamic with his co-star or affect Bianca and Donnie’s romance. Given that they've been working on this franchise for nearly seven years now,  the two stars have built up trust amongst themselves. One would imagine that both are comforted by the fact that they have each other's backs on set. 

Tessa Thompson, who did prep ahead of Creed 3, went on to explain to the trade that there's something else that she appreciates about her work on the franchise that continued with the third movie. She enjoys the creative freedom she has and has crafted a process that Michael B. Jordan became a firm part of due to his directorial duties:

In the past, it’s been a lot of work to make sure that she has agency and an arc in the context of these sports films, essentially. I wanted to make sure that she’s not just moving the plot forward, and that she actually has something interesting to do. And I typically do that work with the writers, which has been a great process thus far, but this time around, I could do that work more actively with Mike. I also had a lot more freedom to improvise on the day than in the past ones. He gave me a lot of license to do that, so that felt different. But it didn’t change the dynamic between these characters.

You have to love a director who's a true team player, and it sounds like the former Sexiest Man Alive worked well with his colleagues during filming. A lot of this may be because he did a lot of prep for his first directing job. This included observing two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington during his time on A Journal from Jordan

Meanwhile, the Thor: Love and Thunder actress got to live out her directing dreams by collaborating with her friend. Hopefully, both stars get more opportunities to sit behind the camera as time goes on.

Michael B. Jordan is currently in post-production on Creed 3, which is set to arrive later this year. Plot details are currently being kept under wraps, though Sylvester Stallone's reaction to the story indicates that the movie will take the franchise in a fresh direction. The veteran star won't be reprising his role as Rocky Balboa, but he did wish Jordan and co. well. Based on Tessa Thompson's comments, it sounds like the actor upholding the integrity of the franchise that Stallone birthed.

Creed 3 will arrive in theaters on November 23, with Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, and Phylicia Rashad reprising their roles from the first two films and Jonathan Majors joining as Donnie's sparring partner, Anderson Dame.

Adreon Patterson
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