Already, but the age of 25, acclaimed actress Scarlett Johansson seems to have both the world and the wrold's media well within her grasp. Buzzine‘s Emmanuel Itier managed to briefly turn the tables get the mega-star in his sights for an insightful interview at Comic-Con in San Diego, CA about her role as a notorious double agent in the much-anticipated Marvel superhero film sequel, Iron Man 2.
Emmanuel Itier: How was it, after not being in the first movie, to be part of a new cast: How was it to blend in with the original “club?”
Scarlett Johansson: I thought it would be a little bit daunting, especially because I came into the project as a huge fan of the first movie, so I was a kind of geeked out when I first came to the set, but I have to say, I think roughly 80% of the crew was back from the first one, so it had a real familial feeling.
Even though the project, a lot of times, when I first went into it, seemed like larger than life and epic, it’s got a small, communal feeling on the set, and I attribute that to Jon [Favreau] and Robert [Downey, Jr.] and Marvel. They are dedicated to keeping it all in the family, which I really appreciate. It was nice. I was welcomed with open arms, as opposed to being isolated. I was, like, inducted into the family, I suppose.
EI: Are your comic characteristics more visual in this kind of story – is there more action in your movements?
SJ: It depends on the scene, certainly. When you’re doing something like an action scene, you want everything to be exaggerated, and you’re not just punching somebody but you’re punching through that person — you want to hit it hard because you’re selling the fact that you’re either taking a blow or beating the crap out of somebody (pardon my language), and that it’s believable that you buy it. Whereas, for me anyway, of course, when I’m working in a more dramatic sense, I always try to take a more subtle
approach. I’m not trying to sell the audience something; I’m not trying to even sell myself something. Part of doing the action is almost like it’s just as difficult to believe in yourself as it is to do the actual stunt, to say, “Alright, this punch is going to go through this person,” whereas, when you’re doing the more dramatic stuff or maybe the stuff that doesn’t have to do with that, you’re not as aware of yourself in that way. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it’s like two different worlds, I suppose.
EI: What do you like about your character?
SJ: Everything. [Laughs] Her fabulous outfit. Her wonderful hair. [Laughs] Everything. She’s bad. There’s nothing not to like about the character. She’s a total bad-ass, and I think it’s rare that we get to see these super heroines brought to the screen where they’re really kicking some major ass, which she does.
EI: Do you see her as a villain, or as a good girl, or something in between…?
SJ: She’s determined and ambitious. I don’t know necessarily that it’s so black or white. She’s a mysterious character. She’s kind of a shape shifter, I would say.
EI: Is it quite empowering playing a character like that? Did you do a lot of physical training?
SJ: I do. I feel much stronger than I’ve ever felt just because I’ve had to build so much strength. I had no choice — I had to do it. You want to do these stunts and you just have to be strong in order to do them, so a lot of that was just being able to have stability — to have balance and flexibility and strength, and all of that stuff.
EI: Fight training as well?
SJ: Yeah, major training — stunt training, strength training, weight training — lots of training.
EI: Did you have a special diet as well?
SJ: Yeah, you have to feed your new body, so you eat in a different way — very clean; obviously you eat a lot of omelets, turkey…stuff like that.
EI: Do you see the Black Widow continuing in this universe that Marvel is planning?
SJ: I hope so. We see that she does, and certainly she is a part of Avengers.
EI: She is the leader of the Avengers.
SJ: I don’t know if that’s where it’s gonna go, but she’s definitely a big part of the Avengers, and she obviously has many different incarnations, different story-lines, so I’m hoping she’ll be able to continue that way, or perhaps in a different direction.
I think Marvel is very much invested in these characters just as much as the fans are — just as much as I am. You want the fans to like the character; you want them to believe in the character, root for them, and want to see them again, and certainly their stories go on for days, so I’m hoping that, if the fans support the character, if they like the character, we’ll see her again.
EI: How scary are the fans?
SJ: They aren’t scary. They’re great! It was awesome. The questions that were asked were funny and complimentary and charming and…it’s super exciting to walk into a crowd of people that you know are rooting for you, that want to see the movie.
We wrapped two weeks ago. Whoever has that? You know, if you wrap a movie, two weeks later you’re like, “Oh god, I hope that never comes out...” you don’t know what it’s going to turn in to. So to have that kind of excitement already, two weeks after, is really incredible, I have to say. I feel very fortunate to have had that kind of reception first time.
EI: How scary were the stunts? What was the most impressive one that you get to do for your part?
SJ: The character does a lot of hand-to-hand combat, mixed martial arts — it’s a lot of a more defensive style of fighting, obviously, because she’s small.
EI: Can you handle yourself now?
SJ: What, are you trying to challenge me? [Laughs]
A lot of the wire work was really challenging, just because you have a lot of resistance against you, and you’re moving forward and the wires are all pulling back, so that’s frustrating. We had such a great stunt team that was unbelievably supportive, and they were like, “Do it! You can do it!” Sometimes you just have to be like, “Here I go!” And you’ve just got to believe that you can do it and then that’s when it works, but I’ll probably never be able to turn my neck to the left again…but it’s worth it. [Laughs]
EI: How was it working with Robert?
SJ: It was amazing. Just watching him work and the way he works, and how you watch his train of thought go all the way around and then come back to the center…he is just an incredible improvisational actor and he’s got this big creative brain. It’s just fun to watch him play.
EI: So you had to keep up with him?
SJ: I can handle myself! More than anything, I just love to interact with that energy — it’s fun. It’s fresh and exciting and right there, and I think the two of us really were able to bounce off of one another. There was a lot of really good energy there.
EI: Good energy, and good shoes?
SJ: Christian Louboutin. They’re my superhero booties.
'Iron Man 2' is scheduled for a May 2010 release by Marvel/Paramount Pictures.