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Creed 3's Tessa Thompson Refused To Say One Word In The Movie

This article contains brief "Creed III" spoilers

Tessa Thomposon isn't pulling any punches when it comes to shaping her "Creed III" character. While Adonis Creed's (Michael B. Jordan) journey on the silver screen has largely been shaped by the guidance and training he's received from Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), it's important to note just how important Bianca (Thompson) is to the boxing superstar. A musician, Thompson's character was first introduced in 2015's "Creed," where she served as Adonis' love interest and emotional rock. 

"Creed" wasn't just a one-off. A box office juggernaut and Oscar nominee, it went on to spawn an equally successful sequel in 2018. Now, it's threequel time, and Thompson's character is just as relevant as she was on day one. With Bianca such a key part of the "Creed" mythology, Thompson has made it clear just how important it is for her to shape Bianca. The actor said as much in an exclusive interview with Looper, where she opened up about being hands-on with how the "Creed" character has evolved. "Something that feels exciting is that I've always been invited to be kind of a co-author and figure that out with the collaborators," she said.

For "Creed III," Thompson made executive decisions regarding Bianca, especially when it came to a word that she believed the character wouldn't say. 

Tessa Thompson refused to say 'jawn'

While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Tessa Thompson opened up about the importance of maintaining Bianca's character arc throughout the franchise. In "Creed III," Bianca and Adonis are living the good life, enjoying their success and fame. Because life is so cozy in Los Angeles, a part of Bianca, namely her affinity for Philadelphia, is gone.

In the first "Creed," Bianca and Adonis first begin to fall in love over cheesesteaks, a Philadelphia staple. On their date, Bianca explains to Adonis the meaning behind "jawn," which has strong Philadelphia roots. Essentially, "jawn" is Philly slang for any type of noun. This article is a "jawn," the phone or laptop you're reading it on is a "jawn," etc. While the scene doesn't have the momentum or high stakes of Adonis training or fighting, it does allow Bianca and the boxer to bond, eventually leading to their relationship, which is at the heart of "Creed III."

Because "jawn" is so uniquely Philly, Thompson refused to use it in the LA-focused "Creed III." "I said to them, 'I'm not saying 'jawn' in this movie because we've heard it, we've done it. I want to break new territory,'" Thompson told THR. "Not saying 'jawn' was also a way of saying inside of the filmmaking that you are going to witness someone that is constantly evolving." 

Tessa Thompson had to brush up on Philly slang

Seeing Bianca evolve throughout the three "Creed" films is admirable, especially as those Philly roots strip away and get replaced with LA tendencies. It's an interesting and daring route for the character, especially because Thompson was so involved in making Bianca as authentic as possible in the first "Creed." In a 2015 interview with The Source, Thompson revealed that she had never been to Philadelphia prior to the first film's production. "I never stepped foot in Philly before I flew here to make the movie, and I spent about two months before shooting just getting integrated and learning the dialect and hanging out in the musical scene," she told the outlet. 

In a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Thompson opened up about how she spent hours with Philly natives to learn the vernacular that persisted throughout the city. Years later, it's interesting to see how invested Thompson is with the character, to the point that she refuses to use a word that's so synonymous with Philly culture now that it's no longer applicable. As Bianca becomes more attached to Los Angeles, is it possible that she's becoming more personal to Thompson, who was born in California metropolis? 

With "Creed III," the future of the franchise is open ended, so here's hoping we get more of Bianca and Creed as they tackle their next major battle.