Sunday, May 29, 2022

EUR Exclusive: Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux Talk ‘Lady and the Tramp’ Inclusion

Tramp (Justin Theroux) and Lady (Tessa Thompson) in “Lady and the Tramp.”

*If you didn’t catch Tessa Thompso on TV in “Dear White People,” the big screen as the strong-armed Valkyrie in Marvel’s “Thor” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Agent M in “Men in Black,” or “Sorry to Bother You”—just to name a few—then you will hear a lot from her in “Lady and the Tramp.” Television’s “Maniac” and “At Home with Amy SedarisJustin Theroux, whose blockbuster creds include “Star Wars,” is Lady’s (Thompson) Tramp.

The live-action “Lady and the Tramp,” directed by Charlie Bean, will premier on Disney Plus (Disney+) November 12. Streaming only on Disney, the revamped 1955 “Lady and the Tramp” subscribers will not only be viewing family entertainment at its best, but witness dogs doomed to die getting a second chance. Monty (Theroux) was scheduled to be put down before being rescued for his starring role as the Tramp. Kuma, Thoroux’s beloved pit bull, is among the other rescues in the movie.

EURweb spoke to Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux about their roles and life lessons, and inclusion.

What life lessons did playing a dog teach you?

JUSTIN THEROUX: I’d love to think I know these lessons but I think I need to relearn them, which are to expand your horizons. Don’t be afraid of expanding your physical world and your mental world.

TESSA THOMPSON: That one of the really cool things that love can do is challenge you. You know when you encounter someone that you have a connection with but is different. Being able to step outside of what your comfort zone is to really understand someone else. I just adopted a dog three weeks ago and it’s been a real gift. You talk about playing a dog, the lessons of having a dog you learn so much about patience, loving unconditionally, and all the cliches.


Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux with counterparts. 2019 Disney Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

 Since this is a classic, did you feel any pressure going in?

JT: It’s obviously an iconic piece of material. My thoughts going in were, ‘We’re going to do this. Let’s do it as our own thing and not compare it to the last one. There were some great changes that were made to this one that made it just different enough, but also adhered to some iconic scenes that had to be in it. So I didn’t feel any pressure, but more sort of an opportunity to do something new and a joy to do.

TT: I saw it as a challenge because I had never done something like this before. I had never just used my voice just to communicate. So that was new and exciting. I like to try and do things that I feel mildly terrified by. I feel really lucky I got to work with the incredible team and most especially Justin who’s just so brilliant. I learned a lot from.

Justin Theroux’s pit bull Kuma lets Tessa Thompson know she is top dog at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York. (MMoore Photo)

This ‘Lady and the Tramp’ is very inclusive. Was this important to you?

 JT: Yes, it’s vital because it represents reality. The original film spoke for that time.

TT: Yeah, exactly.

 JT: The original film not only represented the way people were, but the way the industry functioned. Now we don’t have those blinders and can show how the world is supposed to be.       Twitter: @thefilmstrip

Marie Moore
Veteran syndicated journalist who covers film and television.




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