I'm not sure what it says about the Hollywood system when the luminous Scarlett Johansson is the most real and ordinary actress I encountered at Comic-Con this year. Now, that sounds like a catty slam on the ladies who made the circuit, or possibly an insult to Johansson, and I don't mean it that way at all. But there was just something about her that was a little less airbrushed and defined, which was unexpected and very refreshing. Also, she's far more gorgeous in person, and incredibly nice. Being around her just makes me want to hide in a hobbit hole, and never go out in public again.
Again, apologies for not being able to credit the proper outlets for their questions. Read on for what Scarlett had to say about Iron Man 2, Black Widow, and joining the Marvel universe ...
Hey Scarlett, were you familiar with the character before from comic books, or is this whole world new to you?
It was all new to me. I mean, I had met originally with Jon and Kevin [Feige] to kind of discuss a couple of ... just to kind of talk to them about some of the superheroines of the Marvel Universe, and Black Widow was one of them. But I didn't really know anything about the character until I delved into it , and then I started looking at the suit and was like "Ohhhh my God! I gotta get into that!" [laughs] So it was a whole new world for me.
Can you tell us about some of the other female superheroes that you may have discussed?
Oh, let me see if I can remember them! Scarlet Witch was one of them. Blonde Phantom? Is that the other one? And Moon. Am I messing that up? It is the Blonde Phantom, right?
I've never heard of that one ...
Well then, scratch that! That's my own superhero that I'm going to bring to the big screen!
In the comics Black Widow was a spy, she was Russian from Russia. Is your Black Widow Russian, and is she at all tied into Mickey Rourke's character?
You're going to have to wait and see! That would just be giving you too much! But she is -- I will say that she is covert, and I think that she ... she blends in. She blends in. It's not like she comes onto the scene and they're like "Who's that Russian chick?"
So you're not using an accent?
No. I think that would be a little bit ridiculous. I don't know how covert you would be if you "vere talking like this" [launches into Boris and Natasha accent]. But I would've, if I had to ...!
Can you talk a little bit about the physical challenges of this?
Sure. Well, like I said, it's all about the suit and certainly for me, I don't want to -- as an audience member, I hate to watch those action sequences where you don't see any of the actors faces, and it's all on the back of their head, and you're going "That's a terrible stunt double!" I mean, you get to know an actor's body and their mannerisms, and so for me it was really important to to do the stuntwork, and to be able to fight, and feel the fight within me, I suppose. And so it was just a lot of training, and stunt training, weight training, all that kind of stuff, strength training to try and kind of fit that mold. I really wanted to be able to look at something and say "All right, I'm gonna knock the sh*t out of that person" and believe it. It's a challenge in itself, especially when you're 5'3 and you're fighting somebody who is seemingly a giant, I suppose. To be able to have conviction in that was just as much of a challenge as the actual, physical part of it.
When Marvel and Kevin Feige spoke to you, was it just that your part was going to be in this movie, or that the plan was to extend it into The Avengers ... did they pitch it to you that way?
No, I wasn't pitched it at all that way. I think that certainly Marvel is about building these characters and building a fanbase around these characters, and being able to extend their life in the movie world at least. These are characters they have a lot of vested interest in, and obviously the fans have vested interest in. It would be a shame to take a character like Black Widow who has been around for so many years, and has built such a fanbase, and has so many incarnations, and different kinds of storylines, and often interacts with many different characters in the Marvel Universe -- certainly the Avengers being one of those examples -- and not going ahead with it. So, I think it's up to the fans. I think if the fans respond to the character ... and I think Marvel works very much that way. They're fans themselves, and so I think they will kind of feel out what the masses think of it, and hopefully that be [more] Black Widow.
Coming into the second one, how do you feel about the evolution of the characters, and your place within that?
Well, I think that this -- in my mind, this whole story as it relates to ... I don't know, I mean, I try to compare it to something like Hamlet, where its that kind of dramatic second act where there's a huge climax, and everything culminates in the character. You take a character who can go down two different paths, and I think a lot of the characters in this film have to make a choice. I think there's that kind of iconic good versus evil that comes into play, and it's not all gray area, and there's choices that have to be made. I think a lot of characters in this are forced to step up to the plate, and realize how important they are, and how valuable they are to humankind. It's kind of all in the palm of my hand, which way can I go. And that's me. It's epic, it's that kind of story, and certainly I think Jon has had that in his mind that this is the mark of the characters. Hopefully the third part will be the culmination of that, and whether it'll be good or evil, and of course we hope that good always prevails. I think that'll be a different kind of fight.
Will we see any romantic connection between you and Tony?
You're just going to have to wait and see!
Can you tell us about the 9 picture deal -- that's very unusual. Is that very difficult to sign on, as an actress, to something that's as epic as that? 9 pictures, is that tough?
Well, I think as an actor you're always able to ... and I certainly think in this particular situation, and I know Robert has had this, he's been able to ... you kind of become invested in these films as much as the studio is. You're able to develop your character with the studio and have a lot imput in that sense. So to me, that's exciting. So rarely as an actor do we get to take it to the next level, and see a beginning, middle, and an end -- hopefully! [Usually] you're done with it. For me, to be able to build something, and think about -- especially for a character who has had so many different histories and paths, to think about where she might go, and will we find out more about her. I feel like that's something you invest yourself in. But of course, the whole kicking the crap out of myself thing is a little bit daunting! All for the love of the suit!