THE GUARDIAN – Hollywood quickly made room on its red carpets for the young Scarlett Johansson in 2003, when she first created a stir in Sofia Coppola’s film, Lost in Translation. It seemed clear that this blonde bombshell from New York, who was so ably sharing the screen with a dyspeptic Bill Murray, would go on to deliver popcorn buckets-full of mainstream audience appeal. Beautiful, mysterious and charismatic: she was already an aspirational trophy for any traditional leading man.
Yet, 14 years on, Johansson is established instead as a rather different sort of screen idol. Following a succession of high-octane blockbusters and off-beat critical hits, the actress is now enshrined as perhaps the leading sci-fi action star of her generation. Where once her sardonic smirks and sultry looks spoke of old-school movie glamour, she is now more likely to grab the limelight by kickboxing than by smouldering.
From this Friday, Johansson, 32, will be seen fighting her way to further futuristic box office glory from the midst of a vast, glassy pool of water. Ghost in the Shell, her new cyborg film, is based on Japanese anime characters and features a key combat scene set in a dystopian urban lake. It is a watery sequence clearly designed to become a totemic bit of modern cinema, like that horizontal tussle in The Matrix or the folding streetscape in Inception.
Whether or not the British director Rupert Sanders’s new film achieves the status of a sci-fi classic, it is clear that Johansson, who earned a rumoured £12.4m, has increasingly steered her career towards unexpectedly violent and often unnerving roles. While it is true that she has tackled a few family-oriented outings over the years, such as Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo in 2011, it is her more aggressive work in zip-up Lycra that has earned her a place up among the Hollywood A-listers.
This adventurous side of Johansson was most apparent in 2013, when she took the part of the alien in Under the Skin. A horror film directed by Brit Jonathan Glazer, it was a big risk for the star, not just because she would be playing a carnivorous, marauding visitor from another planet, nor because the film had been notoriously hard to make, but because she had to work on location in Glasgow, driving around in a Transit van and interacting with real people, many of whom had no idea they were taking part in the film.
The risk paid off in style. Many critics agreed with the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw in finding Under the Skin “visually stunning and deeply disturbing: very freaky, very scary and very erotic”.
At the same time as Glazer’s weird thriller came out, a voice-role that Johansson had recorded for director Spike Jonze was to underline the actress’s move towards sci-fi. She played Samantha, a captivating computer operating system in his film, Her.
By then, the star had also taken up the screen persona that was to project her right into the heart of a global superhero franchise. Since 2012, she has played Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow of the Marvel Avengers series. First donning her black Neoprene jumpsuit for Avengers Assemble, the actress has already reprised the Black Widow role three times and is currently filming Avengers: Infinity War.Continue Reading
MARIE CLAIRE – In 2015, Scarlett Johansson was presenting at the Oscars, walking the red carpet in an emerald Atelier Versace gown and a dramatic matching Swarovski necklace. But she was more concerned with another accessory. “I had to bring my breast pump, because I was nursing and every ounce is like liquid gold,” says the actress, who had given birth to her daughter, Rose, five months earlier. After the ceremony, she reunited with it in the company of mutual friends Kelly Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos, but not for long.
“Somehow, Mark got ahold of my breast pump—in a bag with all the milk, ice packs in there, and shit. He grabbed it out of my hand,” Johansson recalls. He was just trying to help, she explains, “but our cars got separated. Apparently, Kelly looked over, and she was like, ‘Wait a minute—is that Scarlett’s breast pump? We’ve got to get it back!’ because she knew how panicked I would be. We finally ended up at the same party three hours later, and Mark was like, ‘I’m so sorry.'”
Johansson, 32, laughs her throaty laugh and takes a sip of rooibos tea. Sitting with her in the Gotham Lounge at The Peninsula hotel in Manhattan, it’s hard not to feel a sense of kinship. Minutes ago, I was pumping in the hotel bathroom—she told her story in solidarity. “It’s very humbling,” she says of motherhood. When I absentmindedly shift around my maternity bra, she asks, “How’s your boobs? Are they square? That was always my favorite.”
For someone who has spent the past several years playing a superhero in Marvel’s Avengers franchises, Johansson is refreshingly human. “Sorry I look like such a hobo,” she says. Having just wrapped a USO tour with stops in Turkey, Qatar, and Afghanistan, the actress arrives with a stuffy nose, wearing Levi’s jeans, large-frame glasses, Adidas Superstars, and a Yankees cap. She looks more like your cool girlfriend than a movie-star goddess. But don’t be fooled: She is the latter.
On the controversy surrounding her casting as the lead in Ghost in a Shell: “I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive. Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that—the weight of such a big property on my shoulders.”
On being the highest-grossing actress in Hollywood history: “Just because I’m the top-grossing actress of all time does not mean I’m the highest paid. I’ve had to fight for everything that I have. It’s such a fickle and political industry.”
On being reluctant to discuss the wage gap: “Some people felt I should talk about my personal struggle in order to shed a spotlight on the greater issue. Maybe I’m being presumptuous, but I assumed it was obvious that women in all positions struggle for equality. It’s always an uphill battle and fight. My experience with my close female friends and family is that the struggle is real for everybody. Everyone has been discriminated against or harassed—sexism is real.”
On her daughter watching her in movies: “I don’t think she’s allowed to see any of the movies I’ve made, other than Sing. I’ll be happy when she’s old enough to show her movies where I kicked some a**.”
On no subject being off-limits with her friends: “I want to talk about what’s happening with your vagina. I want to know why it hates you or whatever. I want to compare and contrast notes. I want to talk about sex and all that stuff.”
On celebrities being vocal about politics: “[I believe] that it is really important to hear people in various positions of power voice their opinions, their story. Why not? Why can’t I have the voice? Why can’t I use my platform? What’s the point of having it if you don’t use it? If you don’t want to get involved, please, the noise is loud enough. But if you’ve got something to say, say it.”
NEW YORK TIMES – The movie business is changing. Women have become increasingly visible as directors (Kathryn Bigelow, Lisa Cholodenko, Ava DuVernay) and successful producers (Reese Witherspoon’s production company Pacific Standard scored huge hits with “Gone Girl” and “Wild”; Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won an Oscar in 2016 for the documentary short “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”). Yet many actresses are still paid less than their male peers, and the Academy Awards of 2016 were widely criticized for the lack of nonwhite nominees.
Only a few A-list actresses have been celebrated for their ability to throw punches or show menace on the screen, but that’s beginning to change as well. Scarlett Johansson, 32, received critical acclaim for her role as an alien on the hunt in “Under the Skin” and will appear in 2017 as a crime-fighting policewoman in “Ghost in the Shell.” Her superstar turn as the Black Widow in “The Avengers” series has helped to make her the highest-grossing actress of all time, pulling in over $3.3 billion for movie studios, according to Box Office Mojo. Still, as of this fall, she was the only woman in the top 20 on Mojo’s list.
In an interview, Ms. Johansson discusses how women’s roles in real life are changing their roles in film. The conversation has been edited and abridged.
The world has watched you grow up on screen — you started so early. Over the course of that time, the roles available to women in real life have changed a lot. Is the process of filmmaking starting to reflect that?
We see more female directors, more women in various departments on set. If you looked around a film set even 10 years ago, it was basically a bunch of dudes; maybe in the wardrobe department or in the hair and makeup department there would be women. Now you see more female camera assistants, cinematographers, grips.
In the job that I’m on now, “Rock That Body,” there are a number of women working as crew members, as opposed to many other productions that I’ve been on.
Is this changing the experience of acting for you?
It’s nice to have a diverse group of people so that it doesn’t become so one-note — to have a female energy on set, to have different types of people and different vibes, and a more balanced creative environment.
What a cover shot, right? Scarlett looks incredible for Variety magazine’s Power of Women issue which features multiple cover stars–including Helen Mirren, Miley Cyrus, Laverne Cox and Ava Duvernay. Scarlett’s interview is available to read below, and outtakes from the shoot have also been uploaded.
VARIETY – Planned Parenthood has come under attack during the presidential election, as pro-life Republicans attempt to cut funding for the organization that provides abortions and an array of other medical services for women.
“It’s pretty terrifying,” says Scarlett Johansson. “Somehow, a woman’s right to choose has become a subject that’s on the Republican platform. I don’t really know what it has to do with politics at all. It seems to be a deeply personal issue.”
Growing up in New York, the actress relied on Planned Parenthood for regular checkups, she says.
“I used them to screen me for STDs or take care of my reproductive health, as did all my girlfriends. When I was asked to represent their initiative, it was a no-brainer.”
Planned Parenthood turns 100 this year, with 650 health centers across the U.S. that see 2.5 million patients a year for cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing, and breast exams.
Johansson is a major advocate of such services. In 2012, she made Planned Parenthood and women’s health central themes of her speech at the Democratic National Convention. Two years later, she helped design T-shirts to boost voting in the midterm elections, and she has recorded an audio message that encourages listeners to enroll in less-expensive insurance options available through the Affordable Care Act.
Her high-profile efforts on behalf of the nonprofit don’t stop there, according to Caren Spruch, Planned Parenthood’s director of arts and entertainment engagement.
“She even filmed a video about the impact that Congressional assaults would have on millions of women who rely on Planned Parenthood when she was on location shooting a film,” Spruch says.
Johansson is enhancing her efforts by publicly backing Hillary Clinton, who has vowed to support Planned Parenthood if elected president.
“Hillary is the right candidate for right now,” Johansson says. “I think she’s got a lot of integrity. She’s got a lot of stamina. She’s a very clever politician, and that’s actually important to me. Maybe it’s because I have a daughter now.”
Almost ten years since her last feature (remember this?) for the magazine, Scarlett is once again gracing the pages of Flaunt–for their [CTRL-C]+[CTRL-V] issue. I’ve uploaded photos of the photoshoot to the gallery and the accompanying interview can be read below. Hopefully further coverage will be available for me to share with you very soon. Enjoy!
FLAUNT – Scarlett Johansson is curled comfortably on a stiff slate couch while she narrates to me the details of a popular YouTube video. “It’s two minutes-old twins and they’re being washed for the first time in warm water,” she says, “they’re in the position they were in in-utero and the warm water recreates the womb for them.” She tells me that the video is amazing, her face has a slight glow as she talks about it. “If you really want to see something miraculous,” she says, “It’s so beautiful.” I vow to watch it when I return home—I’d like to get a better understanding for what it must be like to have another human be a direct copy, a DNA complement to yourself. Having a twin sibling, like Johansson does, is a mystery to those who are unmatched.
“My brother and I started life this way,” she says. “In that sense, I’ve never really been alone—ever—which is interesting and probably affects my whole life. We’re extremely close. You have a witness to your life in my many ways. Even if we’re far apart, we have this deep connection with one another.”Continue Reading
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – Black Widow never has it easy.
Onscreen, Natasha Romanov has an agonizing backstory and is working like hell to do enough good to erase the red from her moral ledger, redeeming a history of bad deeds that we are only allowed to imagine with acts of heroism that defy belief.
Offscreen, much of what Scarlett Johansson’s character does is scrutinized through the lens of gender politics. As one of the few female protagonists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (until recently), some view her not just as an individual character but as a representative for all womankind. That’s heavy lifting even for a superhero.
Amid accusations that her story arc in Avengers: Age of Ultron was stereotyped and offensive — because, like Tony Stark, she expressed a desire to step back from saving the world (and maybe find someone in it to love, and love her back) — Black Widow became a lightning rod.
Some accused writer-director Joss Whedon of sexism for a storyline that involved Widow developing romantic feelings for Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner in the comic-book version of the Beauty and the Beast folktale. Others were outraged that Widow expressed regret over the juvenile assassin program that forced her to be sterilized. Still others took offense at that complaint, saying the desire to have a family doesn’t mean a woman can’t have a career (beating the hell out of evildoers, or otherwise).
NPR’s pop culture critic Linda Holmes astutely noted that even if you swapped out Widow’s story in Ultron with the arcs of any of her male co-Avengers, each would still “raise questions of whether the story was influenced by gender stereotypes.” If she was Iron Man, she’d be the problem-causer. If she was Captain America, she’d be the uptight one. If she was Hulk, she’d have out-of-control emotions. And so on…Continue Reading
STYLIST – She’s world famous yet incredibly private; effortlessly cool but secretly down-to-earth. Stylist meets the actress to discover what makes her tick.
Of all the things Stylist expected Scarlett Johansson to be into, RuPaul’s Drag Race was not one of them. See also cooking meatloaf and fan-girling over Clive Owen. But then, how much do we really know about the Hollywood star? She’s beguiled critics, audiences and co-stars alike since her big breakout in the late Nineties in The Horse Whisperer. Career-defining roles in Lost In Translation and Vicky Cristina Barcelona followed, leading to her current straddling of both the blockbuster world – starring in the Marvel franchise – and the arthouse with films like Under The Skin.
Yet she has managed to keep her private world just that. We know little of the life she shares with her French husband Romain Dauriac, a creative advertising exec, and their baby Rose Dorothy, living between Paris and New York. But the career choices she makes and her political advocacy – she’s campaigned for the Democrats in three elections now – suggest a smart, cultured and passionate mind. One that we wanted to know more about.
When Stylist meets 30-year-old Johansson she’s dressed in a sharp black trouser suit, her short crop swished to the side, New Romantic style. She wears a cluster of rings and a charm bracelet tattoo on her wrist – you have to squint to see the slogan it bears: ‘I Heart NY’. It’s a discreet declaration, but one that offers a tantalising glimpse behind the scenes.
In conversation. Johansson is equal parts fun and serious. Particularly striking is how she concentrates on you; studying your mannerisms as much as you do hers. This observational skill is one of the qualities that marks out every part she takes on, not least in her current role as Black Widow in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, which she has built up into a truly three dimensional character since joining the Marvel family in 2010.
So, what lies behind the on-screen heroics? What are Johansson’s real life passions? Here, she tells Stylist what really makes her happy.
My TV Obsessions: I love RuPaul’s Drag Race. The show is delightful. That’s the guilty pleasure. I love [US chef] Anthony Bourdain. He has a great travel show called Parts Unknown. He’s my favourite. What else is on my ‘to watch’ list? I’m waiting for the second season of [historic drama] The Knick. Clive Owen is amazing. I totally geeked out when I saw him at a party recently. I was over-zealous. I’d met him before but this time I was like [frantically], “I just have to tell you I love you, oh my god.” I was talking about the season and what’s going to happen next. He must think I’m a freak.Continue Reading
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out this beautiful photoshoot of Scarlett and Elizabeth Olsen for the Los Angeles Times. The accompanying article can be found below. Enjoy!
Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots in 2015 > Session 002 – Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES TIMES – Elizabeth Olsen is doing more than bringing the Marvel Comics character Scarlet Witch to the big screen in Friday’s tentpole film “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” She’s also doubling the number of women on the Avengers roster.
“It’s really cool, and I don’t take it for granted,” said Olsen, 26, a self-professed fan of the comic book film franchise.
Previously, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, was the sole female member of the muscle-bound team of super-studs, comprising Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. With four Marvel movies under her utility belt and a fifth (“Captain America: Civil War”) slated to begin filming next week, Johansson, 30, is a veteran of the flourishing Marvel Cinematic Universe. And she’s eager to welcome more women to the franchise.
“For so long, female superheroes have been mistreated, and I think women’s roles in general are often oversimplified and generic and saccharine,” said Johansson earlier this month at the Walt Disney Studio lot in Burbank.Continue Reading
PARADE – In Scarlett Johansson’s eagerly awaited new movie, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, she stars as the Black Widow, the superhero role she has successfully played in three previous Marvel blockbusters. Recently, in Los Angeles, Johansson met for several hours with Parade’s Dotson Rader to talk about acting, love, marriage, family, and other matters close to her heart.
You are a native New Yorker and grew up in Greenwich Village.
SJ: Yes. My mom is from the Bronx. Her parents were New Yorkers. My father is Danish, from Copenhagen.
You started acting at a very young age. How did that happen?
SJ: When I was about 7, I started auditioning. I enrolled in the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute for Kids. I booked the first two auditions that I went on, a Kitchen-Aid commercial and a film [North, starring John Ritter]. I loved shooting that film. So I just kept auditioning and booking stuff, and that’s how it happened. I got lucky.
Is it the applause that you’re after?
SJ: I don’t know necessarily that it’s about the applause. Of course, that’s always welcome. When I did A View from the Bridge, I was convinced that people wanted me to fail. I was really nervous.
(Johansson won the Best Actress Tony for her Broadway performance in Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge in 2010. Her costar was Liev Schreiber.)
I remember Liev saying to me, “[An actor] always thinks the audience is against you. But for the audience this is a night out on the town, a Broadway show. They want to be carried away. They’re rooting for you. They want you to succeed.” He’s right. It totally changed my experience of stepping out on stage. Suddenly, it felt like it was a whole room of people who wanted to be moved. It’s such an amazing feeling.
Are you going to come back to Broadway?
SJ: Oh yes, yes, for sure. I feel at home there. I love it! Your relationship with a live audience is very different than your relationship with the movie camera. It used to be even more so when we used actual film. Then the actors could hear the film running through the camera. It felt like a living organism is witnessing what you’re doing. But we don’t have that anymore.Continue Reading
PARADE – If you ask Scarlett Johansson where she calls home, she doesn’t have an easy answer.
“I live a little bit of everywhere. My husband and I and the baby are a little bit nomadic at the moment,” says the globetrotting actress.
To Johansson, 30, home is wherever her family is. She and her husband, French art curator and former journalist Romain Dauriac, welcomed a baby girl, Rose Dorothy, last September. They live in Paris, close to his family, and in New York City, close to hers.
One place she always feels at home is in front of the camera. Audiences can see her next in Avengers: Age of Ultron, opening May 1, in which she returns for the fourth time to the super-heroic, crime-fighting, world-saving role of the World War II-era Black Widow alongside Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
“I really enjoy playing this character. She was really the first female superhero, a reluctant one,” she says. “She’s never really been able to forge close relationships with anybody. She’s a lone wolf.”
Off camera, Johansson couldn’t be more different from her introverted character. “I’m constantly dazzled by Scarlett’s technique because on set, she’s a goofball,” says Avengers director Joss Whedon. “She’s always cracking people up. She works hard, but then, cut!—she’s goofing around again.”
Johansson had the itch to entertain from a young age, and her hometown of the Big Apple was the perfect environment for the budding young actress.
“I was always very dramatically inclined, ever since I was 3 or 4,” she says. “I was very outgoing. I loved adults. I loved attention. I loved to perform. I used to put on shows for my family. Unfortunately, there’s video evidence of that—my dad with the damn camcorder!”Continue Reading