Scarlett Johansson is one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood; her films are frequently among the highest-grossing of their year of release. She has drawn high praise from critics for her work in independent and mainstream cinema and has earned two Oscar nominations for her performances.
Johansson made her big screen debut in 1994 in the fantasy comedy North. Her performance in The Horse Whisperer served as her breakthrough role, leading to critically acclaimed performances in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, as well as Her and Under the Skin.
Johansson once revealed that she had a soft spot for love stories and characters that have a deep yearning to belong, which would explain her brilliant performance in Lost in Translation alongside Bill Murray. She accredits this love to the books with which she has found a deep kinship, particularly in her youth. We’re going to take a look at some of her favourites.
Check out the full list below.
The books that changed Scarlett Johansson’s life:
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl’s classic tells the tale of the titular Mr Fox and his plans to outwit his farming neighbours to steal their produce and feed his family. The book was also made into a stop motion film by Wes Anderson in 2009.
“I was in second or third grade when my sister read this to me,” said Johansson. “I remember that when she was finished, I insisted she start right over again. I attribute my love of drama to having heard her do all the characters’ voices”.
Summer Crossing by Truman Capote
This is the first novel written by the infamous In Cold Blood author. Capote started the book in 1943 and worked on it sporadically for many years. It tells the story of a youthful socialite who explores romance when her parents leave her at home alone one summer.
Johansson loved the plot of “two people desperately in love in that frenzied first-love kind of way. Maybe because Capote struggled with his own identity early on, he developed more perspective on growing up”.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The 2002 novel won the Pulitzer Prize and is loosely based on the author’s experiences and Greek heritage. It’s a coming-of-age story of a hermaphrodite in the 21st Century.
“I loved learning about a culture that was unfamiliar to me,” said Johansson. “It’s really about finding yourself in a traditional world that doesn’t allow much room to grow”.
The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger
Whilst the novel is primarily intended to be read by adults, it is often a book that appeals to adolescents because of its themes of angst and alienation. Holden Caulfield, the book’s protagonist, has become something of an icon for teenage rebellion.
“There was a searching quality about [Holden Caulfield] that affected me,” Johansson said, “You know, someone who wants acceptance from his peers but also pushes them away”.
Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk
A 1955 novel about a woman with dreams and ambitions of becoming an actress: the novel was made into a film in 1958 featuring Natalie Wood and is often referred to as the first Jewish novel that found popularity.
Johansson said of the book, “One of my mother’s favourite books. It’s such a beautiful, tragic story. Marjorie is so full of gusto and romance”.