Tessa Lynn Thompson is an American actress, singer, and songwriter. Her breakthrough role was in Tina Mabry's independent film Mississippi Damned (2009). She gained further recognition for her starring roles as Nyla Adrose in the drama film For Colored Girls (2010), civil rights activist Diane Nash in the historical drama film Selma (2014), Bianca Taylor in the sports drama film Creed (2015) and its sequel Creed II (2018), Valkyrie in the superhero films Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), Josie Radek in the science-fiction horror film Annihilation (2018), and Detroit in the science-fiction comedy film Sorry to Bother You (2018).
On television, Thompson has starred as Jackie Cook in the mystery drama Veronica Mars (2005–2006), Sara Freeman in the period crime drama Copper (2012–2013), and Charlotte Hale in the HBO science-fiction thriller Westworld (2016–present).
Theatre In 2002, Thompson made her professional stage debut in as one of three actors portraying the role of Ariel in LAWSC's production of The Tempest. In 2003, she appeared as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet: Antebellum New Orleans, 1836 with The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena, California, which earned her an NAACP Theatre Award nomination.
In 2016, Thompson appeared in the off-Broadway run of the Lydia R. Diamond play Smart People at Second Stage Theatre, starring alongside Mahershala Ali, Joshua Jackson and Anne Son.
Television Thompson made her first television appearance in a 2005 episode of the CBS series Cold Case in the role of a bootlegging lesbian from the 1930s. In the same year, she rose to fame as she landed the role of Jackie Cook on the UPN/CW neo-noir drama series Veronica Mars, starring as a series regular season two. In 2006, she appeared on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy. In 2007, she was a part of the cast on the CW's short-lived drama Hidden Palms, portraying Nikki Barnes. She worked on guest star roles on Life and Private Practice, and appeared in season four of Heroes.
In 2010, she had a guest role as the wife of a detective on Detroit 187. In 2012, Thompson had a guest role as Gavin Doran's daughter, Sasha, on 666 Park Avenue. In 2013, she starred in BBC America's first original series Copper. In 2016, she began a starring role in the HBO science-fiction drama series Westworld as board director Charlotte Hale.
Film Thompson's first feature film appearance was in the 2006 remake of the horror film When a Stranger Calls playing the role of Scarlett. Thompson was next seen opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the dancing film Make it Happen in 2008.
In 2010, Thompson appeared in Tyler Perry's stage play adaptation For Colored Girls, after she directly approached Perry to be cast in the film. In 2014, she starred as Samantha White in Justin Simien's Sundance-winning comedy Dear White People. That same year, Thompson played civil rights activist Diane Nash in Ava DuVernay's Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma. In 2015, she appeared in Ryan Coogler's Rocky sequel Creed, and in Nate Ruess' short film The Grand Romantic.
In April 2016, Thompson was cast as Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Thor: Ragnarok, which was released on November 3, 2017. She then appeared in the science-fiction horror film Annihilation, which was released on February 23, 2018. In June 2017, Thompson was cast in the science-fiction comedy Sorry to Bother You, which was released on July 6, 2018. She reprised her role as Bianca Taylor in Creed II, which was released on November 21, 2018.
She will also have a starring role in the Men in Black spin-off film, Men in Black: International. The film, which reunites her with Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame co-star Chris Hemsworth, is set for release on June 14, 2019.
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