SALT LAKE CITY — Tessa Thompson has just barely entered the “Men in Black” universe with “Men in Black: International,” but she hopes the franchise’s title can be more inclusive in the future.
At the film’s New York City premiere, Thompson (“Thor: Ragnarok,” “Creed 2”) said she pitched new titles for the film series, ComicBook.com reports. Some of her choices include “People in Black” and “Humans in Black.”
”I think we can change the name at some point. But the truth is, I think it's really significant,” Thompson said. “I hope we can get to the space where it's not noteworthy when women topline these films, and I think a film like this helps us get there."
However, the actress told Variety she understands the naming convention holds brand familiarity and isn’t diminished by the fact women are featured in the series, which previously starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
Thompson said she hopes “MIB: International” encourages film studios to make more movies starring strong female leads, Variety reports. “My hope is that we can get to a space inside of Hollywood where it’s not noteworthy that a woman should be topping a studio film,” the actress said.
But Thompson doesn’t want to just stop at women — she wants her movies to inspire all people, including young boys, girls and the LGBTQ community. She also noted that certain jokes in the film call attention to “antiquated ways of working” in Hollywood.
“It’s important to go into a cinema and to relate to a protagonist who doesn’t look like you, who doesn’t have your particulars. I think that’s what movies are designed to do, is to make us more empathetic and compassionate towards the other, and we have never needed that more,” Thompson said.
“Men in Black: International” stars Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Ferguson and Emma Thompson and releases in theaters on June 14. Critical reception to the movie has been fairly tepid — Deseret News’ review notes the move isn’t bad, but doesn’t bring anything new to the table.