Scarlett Johansson admits that joining a comic book franchise — and taking on a butt-kicking character like Black Widow — was something of a challenge.
“This was a whole new bag of tricks for me. It came out of left field. It was a lot to immerse myself in,” she says. “Training like that is hard. It’s a lot of work. You basically suck until you get it right.”
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But she was committed to getting it right — and doing as many of the stunts herself as possible.
“You’re asked to just completely abandon everything that you think about this person and go with the story,” she says, putting herself in the audience’s shoes.
“And then all of a sudden they do a fight sequence and you only see the back of their head and you go, 'Wait a minute! I want the money shot! I want to see them fight! I didn’t want to be the back of the head.'”
While still quite young, Johansson is something of a veteran in the film world, having made her debut at age 10. And she’s learned how to not get overwhelmed by the demands of the movie business.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and it’s not that I’m jaded by it, but I think more that I’ve learned to pace myself,” she says. “It’s very, very exciting to be a part of this. But you know, I live a very low-key lifestyle. I’m going to go home, I’m going to clean up. Maybe I’ll make dinner or have dinner with friends or whatever. I’ll get to bed and it will be the same thing tomorrow. It’s a job, really.”
And part of that job now is finding a way to transition into more mature roles, she says.
“I’m sort of in a transitional phase of my career. I’m 25 and I’ve been acting in movies for a long time, and I’ve certainly played the ingenue in every capacity in every different incarnation,” she says. “I’m looking forward towards playing the woman, as opposed to the young woman.”
Iron Man 2 is a part of that new phase, she insists. One aspect of the film that Johansson was particularly thrilled about was what was left out about Black Widow.
“We know nothing about her romantically in this film,” she points out. “It is refreshing.”