Thor: Ragnarok star Tessa Thompson has fighting words for male writers who write for female action heroes. The third Thor solo movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Ragnarok has had fans buzzing since its teaser trailer debut in April, when director Taika Waititi made it quite clear that the film was going to be much different than anything fans have seen in a Thor movie before, if not the entire MCU.
Bursting with iridescent colors, and loaded with offbeat scenarios, cheeky humor and improvised dialogue (around 80 percent of it, claims Waititi), the film promises to bring a much lighter tone to Thor: Ragnarok when it opens in theaters November 3. In addition to MCU regulars Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), the cast is welcoming a handful of new principal players, including Cate Blanchett (Hela), Karl Urban (Skurge), Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster) and Thompson (Valkyrie).
While Thompson is no doubt thrilled to be a part of Thor: Ragnarok, her involvement in the superhero and action movie genres appears to come with some mixed feelings.
In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Thompson, whose credits include Selma, Dear White People, and Creed, is taking issue with the way female characters are written for those genres. In fact, that's the reason why Thompson says she and Waititi purposefully deviated from the comic book version of Valkyrie to make a more timely version of the character. She says:
"There's an unfair position that women are sometimes put in, in the context of superhero movies and action movies where at once they have to be very strong and fierce, but also sexy. Obviously, it's still a superhero movie and so you've got to figure out when you need to stand with your hands on your hips and what makes sense. But we wanted to create a character that occupied her own iconography.”
While Thompson doesn't appear to have a problem with her role in Thor: Ragnarok (the story of which is credited to Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost & Eric Pearson, with Pearson receiving screenplay credit), she takes issue with roles written for females by male writers – and one buzzword in particular. She adds:
“There's one word I hate in all scripts in Hollywood at the moment in describing women, and that is the word 'badass.' That word has just crept into every script that is pushed around this town now. It's terrible, because it doesn't mean anything. It's a dumb male writer's way of saying, ‘Ah, uh, she's like, she, uh, she's tough.’ Then straight after that it's like, ‘She's badass, but she's got a beauty about her. And she's sexy. Unconsciously sexy.’”
Fortunately for Thompson, there clearly is a conscious effort underway in the MCU and DC Extended Universe to employ filmmakers to avoid such pitfalls and stereotypes. In the case of Marvel Studios, half of the directing duo is female (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck) for the upcoming big screen adaptation of Captain Marvel and the screenplay is written by three women (Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perman and Geneva Robertson-Dworet).
For the DCEU, director Patty Jenkins undoubtedly help realized the proper sensibilities of Wonder Woman with the film's male scribe Allan Heinberg (who wrote the script based on his story written by Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs) to make the superhero adventure the No. 1 domestic box office draw of the summer. True, there are detractors like James Cameron who claim Wonder Woman is being objectified, but Jenkins strongly disagrees.
While Thompson's issue with the way female action and superhero characters are written by males won't be solved overnight, at the very least she can take comfort that main providers of superhero films in Hollywood are trying to make things right. Even better, if Thompson can find her way into the Star Wars universe (which, like Marvel, is a Disney property), she'll be able to find more of the same.
Source: Los Angeles Times
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019