[image id='63fe83b8-aaf6-451d-8af8-bcaee76474ba' mediaId='f03c246d-5ffc-49ec-bdc9-039d49b35a22' align='left' size='medium' share='true' caption='' expand='' crop='original'][/image]
Everyone will be talking about Sorry to Bother You, the new dystopian drama about one man’s success and its dire consequences. The real hero? His girlfriend, Detroit—played by Tessa Thompson—an artist who sees through the BS.
Marie Claire: Sorry to Bother You is a brilliant, consciousness-raising acid trip of a film. How do you describe it to people?
Tessa Thompson: It’s a piece of magical realism set in Oakland, California, and the film explores what it is to keep your own integrity inside a space that pushes us toward this idea that we have to be something other than who we are to gain success. It sort of defies categorization, which is something that I found so exciting when I read the screenplay. I’d never encountered anything like it, and I’m not sure I will again.
MC: First impressions of your character, Detroit?
TT: I just love Detroit. She is an artist and a performance artist and somewhat uses herself as her canvas. She really feels like you’ve got to walk the walk that you talk, and I think particularly in this era where activism is so available to us with a retweet or a “like,” she is someone who thinks you have to live with the ideals that you are behind. She challenges Cassius [her boyfriend, the film’s protagonist, played by Lakeith Stanfield] to do that. And the screenplay was so singular and unique that we tried to create a look for Detroit that felt like it hadn’t been done before. Although Oprah in A Wrinkle in Time gave me a run for my money.
MC: We have to ask, did you get to keep the earrings? [Detroit wears flashy oversize earrings in the shapes of electric chairs, penises, and more.]
TT: First of all, I want to be totally honest— they are not the most comfortable to wear because they are really heavy. But something we were aiming to do was create an iconography around this woman that people would want to participate in and wear, so I didn’t keep the earrings because they needed to make prototypes for them to be re-created. Our hope is that people upon watching the movie will want to own these pieces. We see the intersection between fashion and activism, and it’s the right time for people to be interested in using what they wear as a way to speak about their beliefs. Detroit uses the way she dresses as real, true self-expression.
MC: One of the film’s loudest messages is the slyness that systems of oppression possess. You don’t notice you’re being oppressed when you think you’re benefitting in some way; you’re unaware of the harm being done.
TT: We can enslave ourselves to things that we think give us freedom. Social media and technology, for example. We have everything at our fingertips, and we think that it makes us more free, when in fact there are days where I feel way more free when I shut all of that off. Certainly, talking about big business and how it can be exploitative of us, particularly for black artists and artists of color not having ownership—that’s something that is sort of thematically inherent in Sorry to Bother You. Cassius literally effects this old-white-man voice [as a telemarketer] and makes it to the top of this corporation only to figure out that he’s basically in servitude of something that is totally exploitative of not just him but all humans. It’s a really fun summer movie, but if you can walk away thinking about those things too, then that’s great.
This article appears in the July issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands now.
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
As deputy editor, Jen oversees Cosmopolitan's daily digital editorial operations, editing and writing features, essays, news, and other content, in addition to editing the magazine's cover stories, astrology pages, and more. Previously, Jen was a senior editor at Marie Claire. Before that, she worked at GQ.
The Unexpected Character in Season Six of ‘The Crown’? Princess Diana’s Swimsuits
"The swimsuit is the new ball gown.”
By Rachel Burchfield
Spain’s Queen Letizia Masters the Wintery White Pantsuit for Royal Engagement Celebrating Her Former Career
Before she was a member of the Spanish royal family, Letizia was an accomplished journalist.
By Rachel Burchfield
Priyanka Chopra Jonas Made Us Do a Double Take in A Pink and Black Bodycon Dress
Chopra Jonas—along with a slew of other celebrities—were on hand for the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.
By Rachel Burchfield
Sarah Hyland and Adam Devine Play 'How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?'
The 'Modern Family' stars reunited for the 'Pitch Perfect' spinoff series.
By Brooke Knappenberger
The 78 Best Celebrity Couple Halloween Costumes of All Time
Honestly, we're impressed.
By Charlotte Chilton
Super Rare Photos of Queen Elizabeth as a Young Woman
From childhood snapshots to portraits as a young princess, beautiful and rare photos of the late Queen Elizabeth as a young woman.
By Mehera Bonner
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla's Relationship: A Timeline
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles has ascended to the throne as king.
By The Editors
Who Is Next in Line for the British Throne, Explained
And yes—Harry and Archie are still in the line of succession.
By Andrea Park
Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Fiancé Riley Roberts?
AOC's husband-to-be is an "easygoing redhead" who lives with her in D.C.
By Katherine J. Igoe
22 Captivating Films About Royal Life
Once you've finished 'The Crown,' cue up one of these royally good films.
By Nicole Briese
68 Times the Kardashians Posed Fully Nude and Owned It
And we mean fully nude—as in, not a shred of clothing.
By Bianca Rodriguez