EXCLUSIVE: MGM’s Rocky spinoff Creed has found its female lead in Tessa Thompson, the actress who broke out this year in the Sundance hit Dear White People and also can be seen in Ava DuVernay’s upcoming Oscar contender Selma.
Thompson will star opposite Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan in the film from Fruitvale Station‘s Ryan Coogler, which will see Stallone reprise his iconic character Rocky Balboa, now a trainer and mentor to the grandson (Jordan) of his boxing bestie Apollo Creed.
Coogler, who scripted with Aaron Covington, teamed with Stallone to pitch the project to MGM and is helming it as his follow-up to his Cannes-, Gotham- and Spirit Award-winning 2013 debut Fruitvale Station. Original Rocky producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff are producing alongside Stallone and Kevin King.
Thompson’s having a banner year: She won the Gotham Award for Breakthrough Actor for her turn in Justin Simien’s indie satire Dear White People and is nominated for the NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Actress. She appears in Paramount’s Christmas MLK Jr. drama Selma as civil rights leader Diane Nash. On the small screen, the Veronica Mars alum starred recently on BBC’s Copper. Thompson is repped by Greene & Associates, Mosaic, and Jackoway Tyreman.