The announcement of her casting as the female lead in Ryan Coogler’s addition to the “Rocky” franchise, “Creed,” came 2 weeks ago. At the time, we knew nothing of the part, other than that it’s the “female lead.” Although, as I guessed at the time, the role would very likely be, star of the film, Michael B. Jordan’s “Adrian,” as played by Talia Shire, in the original Rocky films, in which she co-starred opposite Sylvester Stallone.
Via the interview, we learn that Thompson’s character’s name is Bianca, and she’s Jordan’s next-door neighbor – an aspiring R&B singer, who works out of her home studio. By the way, Jordan’s character’s name is Adonis Creed, who, as we already know, is the grandson of original “Rocky” mainstay Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).
But Bianca isn’t going to be just another Adrian. In describing her character further, Thompson added: “I think it’s pretty clear that I’m our version’s sort of Adrian, though I don’t work at a pet store […] I do have a fish though, which is just a little shout-out… but Ryan is intent that the thing that sort of [brings these characters] together is that they’re both young people that are aspiring, and are in industries that are kind of challenging and have a lot of hard knocks – bad pun intended – and find solace and strength in each other. Sometimes, the love interest in a sports movie only serves to move the male character forward, or be the sort of person you can cut to, or have a hard time when the person is not winning. In this movie, they’re both in danger of not winning.”
In short, Bianca will be a 3-dimensional character, with a story of her own, which is obviously a good thing. Although, ultimately, Adonis Creed will likely be central to the film’s narrative. It is titled “Creed” after all.
Thompson also reveals that, in addition to co-starring in it, she’s writing music for the film as well.
The story will see Jordan as the grandson of Apollo Creed, raised in a wealthy home, living off his grandfather’s earnings, but who, despite his family not wanting him to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, has the desire to do so, as well as the natural gifts and potential that his grandfather used to become a heavyweight champion… that is until Rocky Balboa took his crown in 1979′s “Rocky II.” Creed’s grandson seeks a mentor to help train him, and that mentor turns out to be Balboa himself (Stallone), who is no longer interested in the sport, and apparently needs to be convinced to help get Creed’s grandson prepped, and ready to get in the ring.
Sylvester Stallone will be returning to reprise his role as Rocky Balboa, but as a retired fighter-turned-trainer and mentor for the younger Creed.
Also, champion boxers Andre Ward, and Tony Bellew are expected to join the cast of “Creed” (if they haven’t already), with Bellew playing the main antagonist – a fighter named “Pretty Ricky Porter” – Michael B. Jordan’s main opponent in the ring.
With an early 2015 shoot date, I’d expect the film to be out in late 2015/early 2016, depending on what the studio’s plans are for it – as in, whether it’ll be another awards season contender, as was the last film that Coogler and Jordan teamed up on.
Tessa Thompson was last seen starring in Justin Simien’s “Dear White People,” and currently appears in Ava DuVernay’s Oscar contender “Selma.”