Tessa Thompson Talks Her Spa Day With ‘Men In Black: International’ Co-Star Emma Thompson, Equal Pay Negotiations

Tessa Thompson was all nerves before she met her “Men In Black: International” co-star Emma Thompson.

Things did not start off on the right foot for Tessa, who was eager to make a good impression on the two-time Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter. The younger star fell into a deep sleep on her ride to the film set, then woke up disoriented on arrival, opening the car door directly onto Emma.

“I’m horrified, right? She gave me a hug and was like, ‘God, you’re exhausted,'” she explains to Marie Claire for the magazine’s July cover story. “She kept saying to me, ‘You must take care of yourself.’ I really needed to hear that.”

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Both Thompsons did just that by indulging in some self-care at a spa in the British countryside.

The younger Thompson describes the spa experience as something “like the afterlife: just a bunch of English people in bathrobes walking around getting treatments. I was like, What is my life? I’m walking the grounds with Emma Thompson!

Thomas Whiteside/Marie Claire
Thomas Whiteside/Marie Claire

Suiting up for the “Men In Black” reboot opposite her “Thor: Ragnarok” co-star Chris Hemsworth, Thompson got a chance to flex her new-found empowerment during pay negotiations, thanks to the Time’s Up movement. The actress admits that women of colour have a specific struggle when it comes to equal pay.

“When we talk about issues of pay equity, that means something different to Natalie Portman than it does to me. Women who are not of colour are talking about pay equity with men. [We] are so far away from that,” she says, before addressing her own negotiations for “MIB”.

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Thompson says the Time’s Up movement has “allowed me to say things I’m not sure I would have said a year ago.

“The truth is, the system where you assess international value is inherently sexist and racist because we haven’t had those opportunities. The only way to disrupt that is to create new models. When we were having the conversation around how we structure our deals, I said, ‘I understand who Chris Hemsworth is and who I am not relative to him, globally and otherwise. But in the success of the film, that changes. In success, I want equity. Because then you can’t make the same argument.'”

While Thompson won’t divulge the outcome of her salary talks, she is satisfied.

“Let’s just say we’re all happy.”

“Men In Black: International” opens in theatres June 14. Thompson’s issue of Marie Claire is on newsstands now.


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