Men in Black International Tessa Thompson Chris Hemsworth
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Credit: Giles Keyte/Sony Pictures

Tessa Thompson wears 4-inch heels throughout Men in Black: International — by choice

Contributed by
May 3, 2019

Genre film footwear raised a lot of hubbub back when Bryce Dallas Howard’s Jurassic World character Claire sprinted away from dinosaurs in 3.5-inch nude Sam Edelman heels. But if anyone was going to own the decision to bring heels to a gunfight/knife fight/secret agent fight, it would be Valkyrie herself. Thor: Ragnarok and Men in Black: International star Tessa Thompson recently revealed that she spent the latter film sporting 4-inch heels — action scenes and all. Why? Because she wanted to.

According to an interview with TotalFilm, Thompson decided to give herself a lift partially because her co-star is such a towering figure. Chris Hemsworth — who co-stars with her in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame — is a big guy and Thompson wanted to hang, “because Chris is 6ft 4in and I’m really not!” as Thompson puts it.

Their friendly, warring chemistry was a big factor in their casting, according to executive producer Walter F. Parkes. He saw Ragnarok and “absolutely” knew these were the two stars of the next Men in Black. Hoping they’d bring their “buddy comedy” vibe to the sci-fi actioner, the creative team recruited the pair straight from the Marvel sets. And now, their friendly competition continues — even if one sports heels to make up for a height disadvantage. But as far as that costuming decision? “It wasn’t really a conversation,” the actress said, “because I was the one that wanted to wear the heels.”

That’s a lot of commitment, especially since she had to do plenty of action sequences in the alien-fighting film — like tussle with Rebecca Ferguson’s three-armed arms dealer Riza — alongside her heel-less co-star. “It’s like that Fred Astaire thing, like Ginger Rogers,” Thompson said. “‘I had to do everything he did, backwards and in heels.’ And the truth is, I could keep up with him. I ghosted him once on one of those streets, running in London in four-inch heels.” She didn’t even need dinosaurs behind her for motivation.

Perhaps Thompson’s costume call here will help destigmatize action heels — even if they’re still no fun to kick ass in. “That was my choice and at the end of five months,” Thompson said, “I was like, ‘God, get me out of these!’” Suffering for her art. Perhaps the tables will be turned if the pair ever do the gender-swapped remake of 1992’s The Bodyguard, as they joke in the interview, with Thompson carrying “diva” Hemsworth. Fans can only cross their fingers and continue fawning over the hottest pair in genre.

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