Scarlett Johansson: I Was ‘Kind of Groomed’ Into Being a ‘Bombshell-Type Actor’ and ‘I Couldn’t Get Out of It’
Scarlett Johansson admitted on a recent episode of the “Table for Two with Bruce Bozzi” podcast that she felt groomed into becoming a “bombshell” actor during the early part of her career. With roles in films such as “Lost in Translation,” “Girl With the Pearl Earring” and “Match Point,” the Oscar nominee continuously found herself playing the object of male desire during a period of time when she was trying to cultivate star power in the industry.
“I did ‘Lost in Translation’ and ‘Girl With the Pearl Earring,’ and by that point, I was 18, 19 and I was coming into my own womanhood and learning my own desirability and sexuality,” Johansson said. “I was kind of being groomed, in a way, to be this what you call a bombshell-type actor. I was playing the other woman and the object of desire and I suddenly found myself cornered in this place. I couldn’t get out of it.”
She continued, “It would be easy to sit across from someone in that situation and go, ‘This is working.’ But for that kind of bombshell, you know, that burns bright and quick and then it’s done and you don’t have opportunity beyond that. It was an interesting, weird conundrum to be in but it really came back to working at it and trying to carve a place in different projects and work in great ensembles.”
Johansson reminded listeners that even her Black Widow role in “Iron Man 2” was written as “underdeveloped and over-sexualized” at first. The actor worked with director Jon Favreau and Marvel studios head Kevin Feige to re-work the character into something more progressive. Johansson revealed earlier this year that her constant “hyper-sexualization” in Hollywood led her to think her career was ending.
“I kind of became objectified and pigeonholed in this way where I felt like I wasn’t getting offers for work for things that I wanted to do,” Johansson said on the “Armchair Expert” podcast. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘I think people think I’m 40 years old.’ It somehow stopped being something that was desirable and something that I was fighting against.”
“I think everybody thought I was older and that I’d been [acting] for a long time, I got kind of pigeonholed into this weird hyper-sexualized thing,” she continued. “I felt like [my career] was over. It was like: that’s the kind of career you have, these are the roles you’ve played. And I was like, ‘This is it?’”
Next up for Johansson is her first live-action Wes Anderson project, the star-studded “Asteroid City” that’s opening in June 2023, followed by Kristin Scott Thomas’ directorial effort “My Mother’s Wedding” opposite Sienna Miller and Emily Beecham.