Tessa Thompson says Little Woods would have helped her feel less “confused” if it had been released when she was younger.
The 35-year-old actress stars alongside Lily James in the Nia DaCosta-directed drama, and Thompson has revealed she relished the adventures of making the movie, which tells the story of two adopted sisters who work outside the law, because it drew from her own experiences of growing up with a half-sister who is White and the challenges they faced when she attended public school.
She told Collider: “It is also my experience. My half-sister, who I grew up and who has my heart, is White, and I’m me. We grew up in an experience where people were like, ‘You’re what?! How do you relate to each other?’ To see that on screen and normalized was huge for me.
“If I had seen depictions like that when I was little, it would have probably helped me navigate all of the confusion that I felt around being at public schools and being one of the only Brown people in that space, and looking across at my sister and feeling alienated because we didn’t look alike. There were just so many things about this project that meant a lot to me.”
And Thompson thought working with the Cinderella star was the “perfect” partnership because James was “hungry” to work and was “excited” to be in a team of women on and off camera.
She added: “We had very little money, and the movie was ambitious. Someone that fits the role is one thing, and then it’s about who’s gonna come and play ball, who’s gonna be up for moments of relative chaos, and who’s gonna be up for long days. It was so fantastic because Lily was so game and so hungry for that type of experience that was just different.
“For her, getting to make a film with a young woman who’s a writer/director, and for the most part, all of our producers were women, and there were so many women to get to work with, who were contemporaries, was exciting. And then, getting to work on something that’s so different than what she had done previously was just a joy. It felt perfect. It became pretty clear, early on, ’cause she went straight into these really intense rehearsals on a couch, really excavating and going into these scenes.”
Watch Thompson in the trailer for Little Woods below.