Scarlett Johansson’s name is a staple in the list of A-list actresses. Her career contains big hits with the MCU and also acclaimed yet controversial projects like Woody Allen’s movies. Speaking of controversies, the actress once got embroiled in one when she talked about the sexualization of her Marvel character Black Widow.
MCU fans were divided on her comments. Some agreed while others didn’t. Many people also pointed out that it was hypocritical of her to say that when she had agreed to do n*dity in other films, even those which flopped badly, like the controversial Under the Skin.
Scarlett Johansson Addressed The Gross Sexualization She Faced In Hollywood
On the Armchair Expert podcast with hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, Scarlett Johansson revealed that she was pigeonholed into having a hyper-sexualized image in the film industry. She said:
“Because I think everybody thought I was older and I’d been [acting] for a long time and then I got kind of pigeonholed into this weird hyper-sexualized thing. 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 I guess.’”
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In another interview, she talked about her character Black Widow getting referred to as a piece of meat by Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in Iron Man 2. The actress talked about being hyper-sexualized again and said:
“You look at Iron Man 2 and while it was really fun and had a lot of great moments in it, the character is so s*xualized, you know? Really talked about like she’s a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever — like a piece of a*s, really. And [Tony Stark] even refers to her as something like that at one point … ‘I want some’ [says Tony] … and at one point calls her a piece of meat.”
So fans once asked why did she agree to the multiple full frontal n*de scenes in the 2013 film Under the Skin if she had always felt hyper-sexualized?
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Why Did Scarlett Johansson Agree To Strip Down For The Flop Film Under The Skin?
In 2013’s Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson played an alien hiding among humanity and getting to know them. The film was a box office disaster, collecting barely more than $7 million at the box office. However, the chatter around the film was immense because it featured the HER actress in full frontal n*dity.
But the actress clarified that her n*de scenes weren’t meant to titillate but to drive home a point about her character slowly becoming more human and vulnerable. Johansson also confessed that director Jonathan Glazer even agreed to remove the n*de scenes if they didn’t add anything to the film.
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The Marvel actress said:
“Jonathan, the last thing he wanted to do was take the audience out of the story and have like, this n*die alien shot or whatever. It was not his intention at all. And certainly, going into it, we talked about it and he was like, ‘I do not want that so if that’s going to be — if that’s at all apparent or becoming like, if the value of this as a means of storytelling is suddenly overshadowed by the freak factor of it — for lack of a better term — then I’m not going to put it in.”
Also, the Lucy actress admitted that she agreed to star in Under the Skin because of the director and how much she trusted him with the film. She said:
“I love Jonathan’s work and that’s what originally drew me to the project … We had an incredibly close relationship and I couldn’t have done it if we didn’t have that.”
As such, the actress clearly has a demarcation. She considers n*de scenes if they actually add to the plot. However, in films like Iron Man 2, her character’s function was mostly to titillate. Also, the actress mentioned that about a decade ago she didn’t have any problems starring in sexualizing roles.
It was all because she used to consider them as compliments because she had low self-worth. But now that she has grown up, her perception of these things is vastly different. The Marriage Story actress revealed:
“Maybe at that time that actually felt like a compliment. You know what I mean? Because my thinking was different. Maybe I even would have, you know, my own self-worth was probably measured against that type of comment or, like a lot of young women, you come into your own and you understand your own self-worth. It’s changing now.”
It’s interesting to see how the actress has grown and matured over the years and has come to value herself as an artist more.
Under the Skin is available on Amazon Prime Video.