For his partner, Sony wants a woman of color, so we recommend a few options.
Nobody really thinks of Chris Hemsworth as a dramatic actor in the sense of Oscar bait movies and chameleonic performances, and that’s fine. With the iron grip he has over blockbusters and franchises worldwide, it makes sense that he would happily stay in his niche; we can also happily enjoy his movies without giving them too much of a second thought. But particularly at the moment, Hemsworth seems to be moving closer towards the comedy genre. In the last two years, he’s made a name for himself by appearing in the Ghostbusters reboot, Thor: Ragnarok, and even appeared in that fake Dundee thing this year. All in the name of fun, right?
We can now add Men in Black to Hemsworth’s ever-growing list of franchise attachments, as The Hollywood Reporter announced the actor could star in the spin-off film for Sony. The new Men in Black will move away from Agents J and K — memorably portrayed by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in the original films — and feature brand new characters while building upon the established sci-fi world of the franchise. THR notes that Sony is looking to cast the new Men in Black inclusively: they want a white dude, a woman of color, and an “older man.” So, Hemsworth could likely be said white dude and there couldn’t be a better box office draw to cast at the moment.
The Men in Black spin-off sounds like it’s generally in good hands as far as spin-offs go. F. Gary Gray is currently in negotiations to direct the film, and he is great at balancing action beats and meaningful character moments. Hemsworth is probably going to do just fine too, because he is funny. Ragnarok certainly showcased his ability to lead a comedy and brought some fresh energy to the Thor franchise. Not a lot of people were taken with Ghostbusters, but he stood out playing a character that is both delightfully stupid and surprisingly cunning, a real gem of a supporting role to the four leading women.
But really, there’s only so much Hemsworth can do on his own. This is the case for many comedies anyway, which just tend to do better if jokes have someone else to bounce off of. I’m eternally crossing my fingers and toes that Sony’s bid at diversity doesn’t end up being tokenistic and stereotypical, but here are some ideas for great women co-stars that could hold their own or even one-up Hemsworth’s comedic energy.
Just give Haddish all the movie roles now, especially after she stole the show in Girls Trip amongst so many comedy greats. She is such a fearless presence and could very well handle any amount of ridiculousness the Men in Black franchise — aliens and all — would throw her way. Haddish is effortlessly funny in fiction and in real life. Between a bestselling memoir, a new TBS series The Last O.G.s, and signing a deal with Netflix, Haddish would be doing Men in Black a favor if she ever appeared in the movie.
Kelly Marie Tran
This one probably needs more explaining since Tran received a breakout role in a Star Wars movie, which aren’t exactly the pinnacles of comedy. Apart from having battled intergalactic forces in the past, it’s understandable if one is skeptical about Tran’s comedy credentials… until you remember she did improv with renowned groups like Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade. Also, one look at Tran in any interview promoting The Last Jedi and you’ll find a woman with so much bubbly charisma and enthusiasm that to keep her from comedy is a travesty.
Or “we really want more of Valkyrie and Thor’s hilarious dynamic and we don’t care where it comes from.” Thompson may be appearing alongside Hemsworth in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, but obviously that will be a much more somber affair. Thompson and Hemsworth have an assured chemistry in the lighthearted story of Ragnarok. It’s an undeniably special connection that still felt underused in that movie. Hollywood is no stranger to actor “cinematic universes,” after all (Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling… and these are just the modern ones). A second Hemsworth and Thompson team-up wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.