Scarlett Johansson is one of the leading actresses in Hollywood now. She has become synonymous with the superhero Black Widow after portraying the character for various Marvel projects. The actress took on the role, which was a turning point in her acting career, to challenge herself.
Audiences were first introduced to Black Widow in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Scarlett Johansson had to fight tenaciously for the role, nearly losing it to Emily Blunt, the director Jon Favreau’s initial choice. However, Blunt could not commit to Iron Man 2 due to scheduling conflicts.
As fate would have it, the Black Widow role returned to Scarlett Johansson, who partially wanted to do the project because of the challenge. During a conversation with Success, the actress said, “There’s pain involved in trying to make something great, whether that’s emotional or physical pain. Like in these superhero movies, it definitely hurts. It’s a lifestyle that’s not that fun. But the challenge is what makes me happy, not the result. The challenge of, ‘How far can I push myself?’ Like doing the play—‘I don’t think I’m going to survive this.’ Or doing The Avengers—‘I’m gonna die halfway through this job.’ Being able to do something that feels impossible makes me feel incredibly happy.”
Scarlett Johansson was concerned about her character’s portrayal in The Avengers, given that it was only her second appearance in the Marvel universe, following her role in the Iron Man sequel. The superhero ensemble film delved deeper into Black Widow’s backstory, and Johansson was eager to gauge the audience’s response to this exploration.
“Of course when I went in to do Avengers after having done Iron Man 2 which you kind of don’t know a lot about the character, right, you sort of see her in Widow mode. I met with Joss and we started talking and he did a bunch of research. I didn’t know if the character would work, or the audience would like her. Like my version of her,” Johansson once said, according to Trippin’ With Tara.
The enthusiastic fan reaction to Johansson’s character development opened the door to explore deeper facets of the superhero. Scarlett Johansson said, “Once it became clear they did and I got the opportunity to explore more of her back story in Avengers, it really started to kind of carve out what my kind of version of Natasha, what my reality could be. Because, I mean obviously it’s one of the oldest female superheroes. Probably the oldest one, and she’s got this vast library of source material and has had many incarnations and many different people have their hand in her stories.”