Here at Moviefone, we think America's greatness should be celebrated all year long -- or, at the very least, for an extra week. That's why we're declaring March 31 - April 4 "America F@$& Yeah" week, with five days of patriotic interviews and features that honor America and the movies.
You know what the best thing is about this Friday (April 4)? We're getting a double helping of Scarlett Johansson in movie theaters -- as Black Widow in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and as an alien seductress who likes to eat her men whole in "Under the Skin."
While "Under the Skin" is definitely worth checking out, it may be a little hard to find. So most of us will watch Scarlett take her third turn as super-agent Natasha Romanoff in "Captain America," where -- alongside Cap (Chris Evans), the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) -- she hunts down a lethal assassin and uncovers a conspiracy to bring down the intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D.
The movie reunites Scarlett with Robert Redford, who plays the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and who directed and starred with the then-12-year-old actress in "The Horse Whisperer." We sat down with the lovely Ms. Johansson (who is currently expecting her first child) to talk about that, what happens to the Widow in the next "Avengers" movie, and what Natasha does on her days off.
Moviefone: It's great to see watch Black Widow evolve over the course of three movies. Did you know what was planned from the start?
Scarlett Johansson: I mean, that was the intention, of course, when I signed up for "Iron Man 2." The hope was that the audience would respond to my version of the Widow Natasha and want to see more. Because, I mean, I had a wonderful time doing it but you just sort of got to be introduced to the character. And I think the idea of revealing her true identity at the end was in the hopes that people would want to kind of take that and run with it. Of course, I had a really fun, playful sequence in the end there.
Yes, you did.
I hope [Marvel] cast me because I would be able to have the opportunity to explore more of the complexity of the character and not just kind of be standing around in a suit and fighting a bunch of baddies. I wouldn't think I would be the first person that would come to mind. So that's always been the intention, and it's just been great. In this film, she's fun to play because, in some ways, she has a real humility about her, kind of unexpectedly so. You know, she gets it. She's in on it. She knows what people think of her. And, you know, she lets you in a little bit and then she closes the door and I think it's exciting to be able to get a peek every now and again. It's enticing, and I like that part of her personality.
What do you think she does with her time off?
She hits the gym.
Does she go to movies?
Movies? I don't know if she's a movie person. You know, she's -- I don't know. Maybe she's into cooking. That's what she likes to do to wind down. A glass of wine and cooking.
So, the next post credits scene should be Natasha inviting all the Avengers over and cooking something for them?
I don't know if she cooks for the boys. Let's be honest, you know. Maybe it's just herself and whoever she's hanging out with at the time.
What are the physical differences in going from "The Avengers" to this film, in terms of training and fighting skills?
On "The Avengers," I had a couple of huge hand-to-hand fight sequences. One was with Renner's character Hawkeye, which was just all about repetition. First, I did it for however many months with the stunt team and then of course they put the two actors in the same room and you kind of pray and then you just have Renner beat the sh*t out of me. So that was that. And then Renner and I fight back to back against this huge troop of aliens. That sequence actually got cut down a lot -- it was really long. It was probably, like, a four-minute fight sequence, but it got cut down to just, like, 30 seconds. But we learn all that stuff, and it's a lot. It just took forever, because the choreography is really complicated.
This time around, with the addition of my trusty handgun, it's kind of gritty, with the exception of a couple of sequences you see at the beginning. There's a lot of gun play, and it's sort of brutal. But that actually is easier. It doesn't require as much because the moves aren't so ornamental and fancy and spinning and all that stuff. So it was less this time around.
How was it reuniting with Robert Redford?
It was kind of a hoot, you know. Because, of course, we haven't seen each other in, I don't know, 15 years. And it's interesting to see someone as an adult. I mean, I have opinions about things that are maybe informed in a different way than when I was 12. I was probably a better actor then in some regards. But Bob has a very naturalistic way about his work and his approach to work, and I remember that. So we didn't have to sit around and kind of sniff each other out and circle each other. We very easily slipped into working together and we didn't have so much to do in this but we got to work together a few days. And it was just nice to talk to him about politics and activism and all that stuff.
What happens to Black Widow in "The Avengers: Age of Ultron"?
I think all of these characters have dark pasts. A lot of us are superheroes that didn't choose to be. My character is a mercenary to begin with and was sort of put into the Widow program. She's had a dark past, and she's just beginning to discover how her past affects her when we see her in "Cap 2." I think she's had to dehumanize in a way, obviously, as anyone in that position does just to be able to accomplish the things that she's had to. But now she's like, "Wow, I actually have nightmares about this stuff." She's starting to realize, Wow, I'm a product of what I've done in some way. And I think, in "Avengers 2," it's about time that our past comes back to haunt us in some way –- all of us, I think, in one way or another.
I think the audience is ready for that. These characters' relationships become even muckier. Nothing's getting cleaned up and tied up in a big, red shiny bow in "Avengers 2." It's complex, and the universe is expanding even more. More characters are coming in, but that only feels like it enriches the story. Joss has made room in a very, very impressive way for those new characters to come in, to be introduced. This is not the kind of rehashing of what you've already seen, but just in a different setting. It's the progression of these characters. And everything's in real time, you know, it's been three or four years. The world as we know it is the world as we know it. It's the next step -- the next level.
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" opens April 4.
Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images