Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok and Alex Garland's Annihilation are two films starring Tessa Thompson released in close proximity to one another, but they each demanded different skills from the talented young actress. While the former has her as an alcoholic fallen-warrior, her character in the latter is an introvert with a brilliant scientific mind. Interestingly, the extreme proximity of the two projects created a special little challenge for Thompson as she was making the features -- but she recently revealed to me that it also created a funny problem towards the end of Annihilation's production schedule:
The tricky thing was at the time when I was shooting Annihilation I was training for Thor, so that was also balancing the physicality - because I didn't want to get so strong while I was working on Josie... I didn't want to like have like these bulging muscles. And as soon as I wrapped Annihilation I started working on Thor two days later - I'm literally shooting one of my biggest scenes.
The subject of Tessa Thompson's crazy tight production schedule came up earlier this month when I had the pleasure of sitting down with her one-on-one during the Los Angeles press day for Annihilation. Discussing her character in the Alex Garland film, named Josie Radek, I pointed out that the personality was a change-up from what we've seen from her in past roles -- and that led her to talk about the interesting problem created by her two recent sci-fi movies being made so close to one another.
As noted, with the exception of two days of rest, Tessa Thompson went directly from the set of Annihilation to Thor: Ragnarok -- and helping absolutely nothing was the fact that the process involved flying from London, England to Brisbane, Australia. Because she's human, she was exhausted when she arrived on the set of Thor: Ragnarok, but it led to a funny interaction with her new co-star, Tom Hiddleston. She recounted,
Tom Hiddleston walks past me and he's like, 'Oh, how's it going?' And I was like, 'Ooof.' He's like, 'Don't worry, like even Judi Dench is off one day.' And I was like, 'Oh my God, did you just Dame me, man?!' That was great. That was one of the first times that I met Tom. But it all went okay.
"Okay" is honestly an understatement. Not only did Tessa Thompson wind up being a legitimate scene-stealer in Thor: Ragnarok, with fans clamoring to see a lot more of her in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Annihilation is phenomenal and reveals her fantastic range as a performer. She can catch up on rest now knowing that the work was worth it.
Funny enough, this is a big week for both Thor: Ragnarok and Annihilation -- and therefore for Tessa Thompson. Today marks the first day that the Taika Waititi movie is available for digital download, and the Alex Garland film hits theaters domestically this Friday. If you have time this week, I'd recommend both.