Scarlett Johansson thinks her career could have taken a different turn if she had continued to play “bomblike” roles. The 38-year-old actress sat down for a rare podcast interview Table for two with Bruce Bozzi and recognized how 2003’s Lost in translation set her on a certain trajectory.
“It was more or less my transition into my adult career,” recalls Johansson, who made her film debut at age 9. “I had a really hard time with it Lost in translation. I was 17, I was far away, I worked with Bill Murray who I was a huge fan of and he obviously has a really big personality and he’s a formidable character at times. Our characters have this kind of real love for each other, this deep relationship, and that was hard for me – I struggled with that for a variety of reasons.
Weeks after wrapping up Sofia Coppola’s romantic dramedy, Johansson resumed filming Girl with a pearl earring next to Colin Firth. After she finished both films, Johansson felt like she was in a “weird fever dream.”
“Such young girls are really objectified and that’s just a fact,” Johansson said at one point, explaining how her career started with “this path of ingénue.”
“I did Lost in translation and Girl with a pearl earring and at that point I was 18, 19, and I was starting to become my own womanhood and get to know my own desirability and sexuality. I think it was because of that trajectory I was launched into — I got really stuck,” Johansson told Bozzi on the podcast, which is co-produced by iHeartMedia and Air Mail. “I was kind of taken care of, in a way , to be this what you call a bombshell actor. I played the other woman and the object of desire and I suddenly found myself cornered in this place like I couldn’t get out. Around that time I met Bryan.”
Johansson refers to CAA partner and co-chair, Bryan Lourd. The actress credits the powerhouse, who is married to Bozzi, for changing her career.
“It would be easy to sit across from someone in that situation and say, ‘This works,'” she said. “But for that kind of bombshell, you know, it burns bright and fast and then it’s done and you don’t stand a chance any further. And I just felt how this burns up so quickly? It was an interesting, weird conundrum to get into, but it really came back to doing work – working on it and trying to carve out a place in different projects and work in great ensembles.
An “incredible opportunity” that presented itself was the second Iron Man movie.
“That part was very underdeveloped and over-sexualized at the time, but I wanted to get into a relationship with Jon Favreau, who I’ve worked with a few times since then, who’s an inspiration to me. And I also wanted to work with Kevin Feige, who’s the head of Marvel, who I knew had a vision for this big picture, where people forget at the time that genre wasn’t what it is today,” Johansson continued. “The first Iron Man with Robert Downey was a sensation, it was unprecedented.”
Johansson is now one of Hollywood’s highest-earning stars and has been nominated for an Oscar twice since his collaboration with Lourd. While some may think a gold statuette is her dream, Johansson’s ultimate goal may come as a surprise.
“I really like producing and I like producing other people’s stuff,” she stated. “My ideal job is a corner office on the Disney lot.”
Johansson sued Disney last year for simultaneous release Black Widow in theaters and on its streaming platform Disney+, claiming the move violated her contract. The two reached a confidential settlement reported to be around $40 million. Sounds like that’s all water on the bridge.
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