Beautiful. Adorable. Completely and utterly smitten. Yep, that’s exactly how Scarlett Johansson must’ve felt when the Black Widow actress sat down with me for an interview at the Beverly Hilton Hotel a few weeks ago.
I’ll admit the popular actress is pretty stunning in her own right. In person, however, I was truly impressed to see just how “normal” and completely down to Earth this beauty is. Not a hint of ego or attitude to be found anywhere.
Now, I was under the impression that it’d be just myself and Scarlett chatting the night away over dinner at some L.A. hotspot. But apparently I missed a memo somewhere. There was no dinner and for some reason, I was joined by roughly 25 other bloggers.
Yep, Scarlett was the first of The Winter Soldier stars that we had the pleasure of meeting during our big blogging Captain America Event.
The actress walked into the room to a resounding and enthusiastic “Hello” from the crowd, which took her a bit by surprise. A hearty, “hello” back and a chuckle later, Scarlett was seated in front of our group waiting to talk about her latest role as Natasha Romanov, ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and current Avenger Black Widow.
Looking extremely comfortable answering our questions, it’s obvious Scarlett is totally relishing her time as the sexy-yet-tough Widow. Who says only boys can enjoy playing superheroes?
Over the next 20 minutes, Scarlett spoke of love, skin-tight costumes and mysterious pasts. Here’s some of the highlights from our special time together:
So when are we going to see the Black Widow movie?
Scarlett Johansson: Um, two years… [LAUGHS] don’t print that. The thing about working with Marvel is that how loud the audience voice is. Marvel, and particularly Kevin Feige is such a fan of the source material himself that he understands the fans are kind of what drive this train. If people want a Black Widow film, I’m sure that we can get something together.
If Ant-Man’s getting a movie, Black Widow should get one.
Scarlett Johansson: Yeah, I agree. It would be wonderful to have the challenge of doing a female superhero movie where the protagonist didn’t kind of rest on her feminine wiles and use every opportunity to strike a sexy pose in order to get the job done.
She uses her brain, wit and feminine wiles to get the job done. She’s a very playful character and also a character that has a really compelling story. She has kind of a gray moral code. She’s not black and white. And I think it could be really a fun opportunity to have. So, we’ll see.
In The Winter Soldier, the Black Widow’s like cupid, talking all about love and relationships with Captain America. Why the transition?
Scarlett Johansson: That’s interesting. First of all, when the character is talking to Loki [in Avengers], she’s kind of putting up this front. She’s not, as we come to realize, being completely honest with him. It’s partly for her Widow face that she wears. And in this film, we really get to see a lot more of Natasha. I like to think that Natasha has a romantic side.
You know, she’s been really damaged. I think that she very early on in the past probably learned to not care too much about people because they could be easily taken away from her and used against her. And she probably didn’t want to hurt the people that she loved the most. So she never needs them or never invested too much in them knowing that it would probably put them in danger.
But I think she hopes that for someone like Cap, I think she sees someone who could have his life enriched by sharing it with somebody. She sees someone that kind of yearns for that, but, you know, is also scarred by the series of events that have changed his life. Maybe she kind of sees in Steve [Rogers] a little bit of herself and wants something more for him.
Do you enjoy helping your character mature over the movies?
Scarlett Johansson: Yeah, it’s been interesting. When I went in to do Avengers, after having done Iron Man 2 which, you know, you kind of don’t know a lot about the character, you sort of see her Widow mode. And I met with Joss [Whedon, Avengers director] and we started talking. At this point it was like, all right, we’re invested in this character. I didn’t know if the character would work, or the audience would like her. Like my version of her.
Once it became clear they did and I got the opportunity to explore more of her back story in Avengers, it really started to carve out what my version of Natasha could be. She’s got this vast library of source material and has had many incarnations and many different people have their hand in her stories.
She’s made all kinds of connections and love interests and failures, and she’s been good and bad in everything. We wanted to make sure that the story felt contemporary. I wouldn’t have a Cold War back story. We had to kind of tailor it to my agent side, like what my experience would be. It’s been great to be able to reveal little pieces of that.
Tell us about the stunts you did.
Scarlett Johansson: Well first of all, my stunt girlfriend [LAUGHS] is this wonderful, wonderful stunt woman by the name of Heidi Moneymaker. that’s her real name. And yeah, she’s awesome. That’s awesome. She’s played the Widow every time along with me. So we have really worked together from the beginning to develop this fighting style that you see. It’s such a fun, it’s such a playful kind of fighting style.
You know, it’s bad-ass but it’s kind of sexy. It’s a little bit flirtatious, I guess, the style. And it’s balletic giving a kind of a little, a nod to her past gymnastics. And of course the Muay Thai and whatever else she would have learned with her kind of global experience.
In Iron Man, the fight sequences were really pretty fantastic, you know. A lot of gimmicky things that were just really fun to watch. In Avengers, there was a lot more gun play and stuff like that.
But this time around, a lot of the fighting was pretty gritty. A lot of it is kind of handheld weapons. It actually made it a lot easier for me because, you know, first of all the crazy acrobatic stuff that you see I start and finish, and then Heidi does ridiculous things with her body that I could never do. Even if it was my job. She’s amazing. And deserves most of the credit. I just basically wound myself trying to emulate whatever she does.
Tell us about the Black Widow costume.
Scarlett Johansson: The Widow costume is probably the most comfortable of the superhero suits because it doesn’t require a built-in air conditioning unit, like [Thor/Chris] Hemsworth’s does. I don’t have under armor. I don’t have a huge leather cape, headdress, whatever. It’s pretty straight forward. It’s kind of like a wet suit actually. Sort of this one piece. And I’m always amazed when it goes on and zips up. I’m like, “Wow. It’s on.”
It’s totally empowering because once you get on the belt and the gloves and the bracelets and your guns and the boots and, you know, it looks great. It’s bad-ass! And when I have my legs wrapped around some giant stunt guy’s head, and feel totally ridiculous hanging on for dear life… you know, it sells it.
Totally sells things that would otherwise look absolutely absurd. It changes the way you stand. It changes your posture. You’re more aware of your body, obviously. I’ve grown to love it. First, I was terrified of it. And now I embrace it because, you know, it embraces me, actually.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier assembles in theaters April 4, 2014