Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, Don Jon and Hitchcock) returns in Captain America: The Winter Solider as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow. This time, Black Widow has a leading role in this action-packed film, where she is stunning, kicks-ass and seems to have a personal goal of setting Captain America up on a date! I attended a junket which featured Johansson, as she talks about her trust of people, playing a “bossy” role, and how her recent Broadway run prepared her physically for her role.
This is the third time you’ve played Black Widow, and it seems that this character has evolved a lot. Do you think your character has evolved in any particular way? And, also by playing this character, do you believe you have also changed in a way?
”I think this is the first time that we’ve really gotten to see Natasha as a person,” Johansson reflects. “We saw a bit of her back story in Avengers, and we’ll see more of that in Avengers II. But in this film, we really get to see Natasha as a woman who gets up, gets ready for work in the morning, has a life outside of just her job: once she’s out of the suit. She has her own kind of reality outside of this world. But, it’s not until I think through the series of circumstances, as the plot unfolds, we find both Steve and Natasha kind of questioning their own identity. They’re realizing that they thought that they were pretty strong people that had their beliefs, kind of twisted morals they might have.
Maybe, the Widow more than Caps. But, at the end of it, they realize, ’Wait, I actually don’t know who I am. I’ve been this sort of hired hand for this – my entire professional career, and sort of young adult life. Who am I? And, what do I want and what do I need from someone?’ So, she – both of these characters are kind of left dangling – in some ways. There’s a kind of cliffhanger at the end, because you really see that they’re just kind of crusting the wave of having this huge moment of self-discovery. And, hopefully, we’ll – I think we’ll be able to track where that goes in the next installments.”
You’re such a strong female character in the movie. And, some would consider you “bossy” in the movie. What do you think about being a role model for girls out there who want to see a female onscreen, who helps out her male costar?
”I think Natasha is a bit of a reluctant superhero,” Johansson responds. “She doesn’t necessarily have this really kind of strong golden moral compass. Let’s not forget, she started out her career as essentially a mercenary. So, I don’t know if that makes role model material. One of the things that’s very attractive to me about the character is that she uses her feminine wiles as kind of a part of her job. But, she doesn’t rely on her sexuality or physical appeal to get the job done.
She’s extremely smart. She thinks on her feet. She’s a leader and she has a lot of foresight. Those are all qualities that I think it’s wonderful to celebrate for young women. And, it’s really rad for me to have my friends’ kids kind of look up to that character and dress up like her at Halloween, and play with the boys and be rough! I always say, ‘The widow always wins.’ And it’s true. And that’s a nice sentiment,” Johansson enthusiastically says.
How did you prepare physically for the role? It seems to be pretty intense? How challenging was it to perform those stunts?
“I had come off doing a Broadway run, which is pretty much, the most physically challenging thing you can do,” Johansson explains. “And, I felt like if anything was going to prepare me to have stamina, it was that. So, everything seemed like a piece of cake after treading the boards for that long. I think I was in pretty solid shape from that run. And then, you just maintain it. You get up at 5 a.m., and go to the gym. Not glamorous at all. And, train like a dude and then eat a bunch of lettuce and whatever. That’s how it goes. Nothing fancy,” Johansson recalls.
You’ve played a lot of interesting roles lately. Is this a fun character to come back to? Does it feel very comfortable reprising that role?
”It’s an interesting challenge to keep coming back to this character,” Johansson says. “I have the good fortune of playing a character that’s evolving with each installment that you see her in. I know going in to play the character, I have to understand who this character is, and where she comes from. And, have this sort of rich back story. I think the exciting thing is scraping away at a little part of her to reveal a small part of the bigger picture of her. It’s a very complex character. This is wonderful for me, because over the period of time that I’ve played her, I’ve also grown. The character’s story is more enriched as my own experiences are,” Johansson explains.
Many actresses spoke in the past of industry producers changing their view of actresses when they became moms. Perhaps, not so believable in action roles, not so femme fatale. Have you though about that? Do you think it’s something can happen with you?
“I don’t know. I’ve been in the industry for 20 years. So, the way roles that have become available to me change as I grow older, as I kind of transition through life,” Johansson says. “I’m sure that will continue as I grow older, and move through my life. You hope to have a career that has longevity, and reflects the kind of experiences that you’ve had. It’s what we all hope for, men and women alike,” says the lead actress in “Captain America II: The Winter Soldier.”
This film is full of characters wondering who they can trust. And, I wondered what does somebody have to do if they really want to be your friend? Do you have any trust issues?
“I don’t think people have to prove themselves in order for me to trust them,” Johansson explains. “I think I’m mostly trusting by nature, and usually, I would say I guess I wait for people to prove me wrong. And then, I don’t trust them I would say after that,” says Johansson.
* We were invited to the Captain America junket to facilitate this review. This is not a sponsored post.