Scarlett Johansson “Black Widow” Interview For Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’
Iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow answer the call to action when Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., initiates a daring, globe-spanning recruitment effort to assemble The Avengers team to defeat an unexpected enemy threatening global safety and security. Despite pulling together the ultimate dream team, Nick Fury and longtime confidant Agent Coulson must find a way to convince the Super Heroes to work with, not against each other, when the powerful and dangerous Loki gains access to the Cosmic Cube and its unlimited power.
Directed by Joss Whedon, and starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson, Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since. Look out for ‘The Avengers’ (‘Avengers Assemble’ in the UK) in cinemas April 26th in the UK and May 4th in the US.
What was it like revisiting Black Widow in ‘The Avengers’? In ‘Iron Man 2′ there’s a lot of mystery surrounding her, in this she’s very much front and center along with the rest of the team.
Scarlett Johansson: I think the first time that we saw this character in ‘Iron Man 2,’ we didn’t really know much about her. We never really learned much about Black Widow. She’s really quite….she’s a slippery fish in ‘Iron Man 2.’ We get little glimpses of her true identity, but it all happens so quickly. To be able to play Black Widow as she is, without these many faces….I mean, she still has many different faces she puts on in ’The Avengers,’ she’s divisive in that way, but we get to see a little bit more of who she is. We get to see a little bit of her history, her kind of shady past. Black Widow, she’s a highly ambitious, highly trained, highly motivated character. She really tries to keep her eyes on the prize. It was definitely an exciting process.
How did you find all the stunt training to play Black Widow in this film?
Scarlett Johansson: We definitely embraced the Wushu a lot, there’s also a lot of weapons – way more weaponry than I have ever had to learn before (laughs)! So that was a little complicated, it was like, “OK, great, you can do all this hand-to-hand stuff. Now here’s this giant staff, or bow-and-arrow. Fight with these two guns in your hands.” I was like, “Wait a minute, I had all those movements down and now I’m fighting against a giant stick!” (laughs). That sort of stuff was a little difficult to pick up. I have to say, the first time when I saw what they had in mind, I was like, “Oh my God, I’m never gonna learn it,” I was pulling my hair out (laughs). But you do, it’s just a lot of fails until you get it. And those failures while training are always painful (laughs).
I can imagine all the physical work helping to inform the mentality of the character as well.
Scarlett Johansson: Oh yeah. Stunts and fights are a huge part of my work on this film and being able to have a fighting style that audiences remember from ‘Iron Man 2’ is awesome. Jonathan Eusebio created and choreographed the style and look of the movements and Heidi Moneymaker, my stunt double, helped me learn them. What they both did for me is so important because it is just as much a creation of the character as whatever dramatic work I put into the job.
There’s a strong family dynamic between the Avengers, grounded emotions on display….
Scarlett Johansson: Definitely. I mean, Josh Whedon’s dialogue is just so witty and so dry and so clever. I think he’s really invested in each personality. And you can see the, I call them Whedonisms, in the words. There’s a lot of pop culture references. But also there’s a lot of heart behind the characters, you know? When they hurt, their hurt, we relate to them. There’s betrayal, there’s suspicion. These are real feelings and I think the audience will relate to them, just as they have in the ‘Iron Man’ films and ‘Thor’ and ‘Captain America: The First Avenger.’ I think the audience relates to each one of these films because….and I think this is why readers relate to comic books, because these characters are human, but they have these superhuman abilities. And Joss as a fan, I think he was just dedicated in seeing that through. That was a big deal to him, to get that dynamic.
Black Widow, similarly to Hawkeye, she’s very much the lone wolf of the group….
Scarlett Johansson: Yeah. I don’t feel Black Widow feels the need to fit in anywhere. She’s just on a job. I think that she and Hawkeye are the ultimate loners. The two of them are….they work for S.H.E.I.L.D., they are tasked by Nick Fury for this mission, and it does become personal at some point. But up until that point, I think Black Widow is just doing her job. I don’t think she has the social skills to truly blend in somewhere, anywhere. Black Widow is all business. She’s sort of in a grey area. In a sense she’s been fighting the good fight, despite her dark background. But she’s committed because she has to be and her moral ground is more dutiful. She’s militaristic in that way; that’s how she knows right from wrong.
I think Joss done a great job in balancing and grounding these characters, while still having all the sci-fi and action elements.
Scarlett Johansson: Yeah. I think what makes this film standout is, number one – the cast is insane! When do you ever get to see this group of actors come together in this kind of fantasy world. And I definitely feel like it’s the grounded nature in which this film, in which Joss has really infused in this film. In my mind I think that’s a throwback to what people loved in ‘Iron Man,’ the original. But it’s with a sci-fi infusion, it’s everything Joss loves about sci-fi, which is being able to escape in this ultimate “other worldly reality,” but have it still be heartfelt and sincere.
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