This won’t be a trendy thing to say, but I have to be honest… I’m not a big fan of this decision. For starters, it panders to those aforementioned Marvel fans and only invites comparisons to Thor: Ragnarok, which I imagine will be hard for MIB to win. I also think that in a marketplace dominated by superhero team-up films, Sony could use some more star power here, especially since Hemsworth hasn’t exactly commanded crowds on his own outside of the MCU. Thompson has certainly cultivated a following over the course of her young career, but she’s not quite a box office draw yet.
Now, it’s important to keep in mind that while the original Men in Black was a two-hander starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, the spinoff is being designed as an ensemble piece that is more global in nature, so there is more casting to come. Sources aren’t necessarily describing Thompson as the co-lead of this film, but simply, the second actor whose deal was ready to be announced. Meanwhile, Hemsworth hasn’t quite closed his deal yet and is still in talks — not that I’m too worried about it.
One thing I am worried about is whether Thompson is right for this film, not that I’ve seen her audition or even know what the role calls for. I happen to think she’s a fine dramatic actress, but there are several up-and-coming actresses of color who strike me as a better fit for this sci-fi world and the light tone established by the original trilogy. Speaking of which, neither Smith nor Jones are expected to reprise their roles as Agents J and K, respectively.
F. Gary Gray is directing the MIB spinoff, which was written by Iron Man scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are producing, and Steven Spielberg is back as executive producer. Sony’s David Beaubaire will oversee the project for the studio, which will release the tentpole on June 14, 2019. We’ll see if this Hemsworth-Thompson pairing can capture lightning in a bottle the way Ragnarok did.
In addition to Thor: Ragnarok, Thompson is coming off the sci-fi movie Annihilation. She’ll soon be seen in the Sundance sensation Sorry to Bother You as well as the second season of Westworld and Creed II. She’s represented by Greene and Associates and Mosaic, and the Hollywood Reporter broke the news of her casting.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief