Talking With Scarlett Johansson About Lucy, Sandwiches, and Playing Non-Humans

VULTURE – Over the last several years, Scarlett Johansson’s output has been impressive in its variety: The Avengers, Hitchcock, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway, Don Jon, Her, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Under the Skin. This weekend, she stars in the Luc Besson–directed action movie Lucy as a drug mule who finds herself able to access increasingly large portions of her brain’s capacity. Vulture spoke with Johansson about playing hyperintelligent beings, avoiding her own acting tics, and her favorite sandwich.

The first question I like to ask everyone I interview is: Why this movie now?
Why this movie now? [Laughs.] That’s interesting. When I first met Luc, I was doing a Tennessee Williams play that was visceral and raw and this project seemed so abstract. It was challenging in a different way because the character is in this constant state of transition and struggles to hold onto the nuances of herself and her life that make her who she is — that make her human, in her mind. In comparison to the work that I was doing when we met, it seemed like a totally different challenge. It just fit. I didn’t even know how to do it; I just felt I could.

As the movie goes on, you unlock more and more of your brain, and your performance becomes more muted and less emotional. What is going through your mind in these scenes where you’re having to be so elevated but also so restrained?
There’s so much going on inside of her. She’s having all these profound changes and realizations and these sudden “ah-ha” moments. But you still want to watch the person and see that there’s an inner life happening there. The goal is to not make it a story about revenge and not have the performance be monotonous or robotic. It very well might be. I’m not sure that I succeeded in making it anything else. [Laughs.] I was aware every moment of what her abilities were. I had a big chart. Okay, I’m at 40 percent. This is what I’m holding on to. This is what I know now. This is what I’m capable of. Okay, now I’m at 70 percent, so this is what I’m challenged by. She’s gaining all this ability and knowledge but she’s becoming almost childlike in some ways. That’s how I saw it.

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Projects

Black Widow [2021]
as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow

A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.

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Sing 2 [2021]
as Ash

Buster Moon and his friends must persuade reclusive rock star Clay Calloway to join them for the opening of a new show.

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Upcoming
2022 Untitled Wes Anderson Film filming
2022 Little Shop of Horrors rumored
2022 Bride pre-production
2023 Ghosted announced
On TV
Sing   |   Sep 18th @ 3:40pm EST DISNEY
Captain America: Civil War   |   Sep 18th @ 6:45pm EST USA
He’s Just Not That Into You   |   Sep 19th @ 6:30am EST E!
He’s Just Not That Into You   |   Sep 20th @ 12am EST E!
Lost in Translation   |   Sep 20th @ 1:12am EST STARZ
Rough Night   |   Sep 20th @ 11:30pm EST FXM
Don Jon   |   Sep 21st @ 1am EST TMC
Rough Night   |   Sep 21st @ 2:55pm EST FXM
He’s Just Not That Into You   |   Sep 22nd @ 9:30pm EST BRAVO
He’s Just Not That Into You   |   Sep 23rd @ 4am EST BRAVO
Don Jon   |   Sep 24th @ 10:40pm EST TMC
Hitchcock   |   Sep 24th @ 11pm EST HBO2
Jojo Rabbit   |   Sep 26th @ 5:01am EST MAX
Ghost World   |   Sep 29th @ 3am EST FLIXe
Jojo Rabbit   |   Sep 29th @ 4:10pm EST MAX
The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie   |   Sep 30th @ 3:30am EST SHO2e
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In her most recent magazine feature, Scarlett was featured on the March 2020 issue of Entertainment Weekly. In addition to a stunning photoshoot, she discussed the upcoming movie, Black Widow.

“This film is very much a result of that journey, my own personal journey,” Johansson says of her 10-year run as Black Widow. “I feel that I probably wasn’t as willing or able to go to the kind of uncomfortable, embarrassing, ugly places before. I think it’s just as you get older, you trust yourself more.”
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Quoting Scarlett
"I’m certainly, obviously, very happy and fulfilled in my personal life, but I’m also a sum of many parts, and able to access different parts of my story and how I got here. It’s all valuable."
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