When it came to casting the role for Bianca — the girlfriend-turned-wife of Adonis “Creed” Johnson [Michael B. Jordan], the lead character in the film expansion of the “Rocky” franchise — it was a tag-team effort between Director, Ryan Coogler and Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, 72. But, it was Sly, who sealed the deal on casting their Bianca, after he randomly spotted her on television. We caught up with Tessa Thompson, 35, who portrays Bianca, at the New York red carpet premiere of Creed II, where she told us just how it all went down!
“Ryan Coogler discovered me. He had seen me in a film called ‘Dear White People’, and we met at the Sundance Film Festival and then Ryan was excited about me potentially,” Thompson explained EXCLUSIVELY to HollywoodLife.com. “So, I came to meet with Mike [Michael B. Jordan], we had a chemistry test that went well, I guess. Butm and Sly happened to see me on BET. I don’t know why he was watching, but I’m glad he was because he immediately called Ryan Coogler and said, ‘She’s our girl! I think it’s got to be her!’ I’m so lucky that little extra push I think sealed the deal.”
Creed II takes a play off 1985’s Rocky IV, during which Apollo Creed was killed in the ring by Soviet fighter Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in what was supposed to be a more of an exhibition match. While the first Creed consisted mostly of fighting, this time around, there’s much more to the plot. Creed II incorporates more romance and family, as well as music, accompanied by the preparation for film’s big fight scene.
In the sequel, Adonis decides to fight Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of Ivan Drago. There’s much more at stake in the second film because of the history with the Drago family. This is Adonis’ opportunity to honor his father and the Creed legacy he left behind.
While Creed II is certainly a film that engulfs boxing, sports and the overall history of the Rocky turned Creed franchise, it is Thompson who adds special pieces to the story. — She’s a musician, a loving mother, and a supportive wife to Adonis in the film.
And, Thompson is thrilled that Coogler and Stallone gave her the opportunity to play Bianca, despite not having a ton of experience as a musician. “No [I wasn’t a musician], but I had dabbled a little bit,” Thompson said of Bianca, a Philly-based R&B singer-songwriter chasing her dreams of musical stardom. “But, this was certainly my first foray into it and I’m so excited that they took the risk on me.”
Viewers were first introduced to Tessa Thompson’s character, Bianca, in 2015, when the first Creed film hit theaters. Now, she reprises the role in Creed II, in theaters everywhere on Wednesday, November 21!