Tessa Thompson Breathes New Life Into "Rocky" Franchise in "Creed" Role

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Tessa Thompson plays the role of aspiring singer Bianca in the newly released film Creed. Her acting, in addition to her singing and songwriting skills, breathes new life into the "Rocky" franchise.

This is the first prominent film role for Thompson. She starred in the indie film Dear White People, and had a small part in Selma.

Both an actor and a singer, Tessa Thompson convinced director Ryan Coogler she was exactly what he needed for Creed.

"I've been in this band, "Caught a Ghost," for about two and a half years. When I was auditioning for Creed, Ryan told me they were interested in casting a musician. I convinced him that it should be me, and later he called and asked me to be in the studio with a composer and producer. To work on such a deadline and write these songs specifically for the movie is really a unique challenge that at various moments was frightening and really fun," she says in a recent interview with Variety.

Tessa Thompson believes Creed will draw a whole new audience to the Rocky franchise.

"The movie definitely brings a new kind of audience into the franchise. In this film, Philadelphia is a character in the movie. It’s also a part of Philadelphia that we’ve never seen. Ryan Coogler is into the stories that he writes, like what it means to be a young black man in this country. It’s tremendous to get to work with someone who has a specific stake in a story, and isn’t afraid to tell it," she says.

In addition to Tessa Thompson, Creed, of course stars Sylvester Stallone, although he takes a backseat to younger characters in the film. It stars the very handsome Michael B. Jordan as the son of Rocky's longtime opponent, Apollo Creed.

Creed opened in theaters on Wednesday.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.