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How Scarlett Johansson Turned Into a Serious Actress With Many Awards After Playing Stereotypical Characters

In 2019, Scarlett Johansson earned $56 million, becoming the highest-paid actress in the world, and she was nominated for an Academy Award twice. It wasn’t very long ago that a lot of people thought she was just an attractive blonde that wasn’t popular for her talent as an actress. She had to put in a lot of effort to lose her initial image and change the opinion that the public had of her.

We at Bright Side decided to learn more about Scarlett’s story and see how her image on the screen has changed through the years.

1992–1998: The beginning of the career and duos with famous actors

Scarlett Johansson was born into a really creative family: her father was an architect, and her grandfather was an art expert and scriptwriter. So, it wasn’t very surprising when Scarlett started acting at the age of 8, got her first big role at 11, and won an International award and became famous at the age of 19.

“And for some reason, I just knew what to do, instinctively. It was like, I don’t know... fate.”

The first time Scarlett appeared onscreen was in a small role in an ordinary TV show. Just 3 years later, this 11-year-old girl acted with Sean Connery in the thriller Just Cause. And then another 3 years after that, Scarlett had an unexpected breakthrough in her career: she got the main part in The Horse Whisperer and she became well-known among critics and journalists. Robert Redford himself, who worked with the young actress, said that she was “13 going on 30.” And of course, this role opened the door for her into the world of big films.

2003–2008: Famous around the world as an attractive blonde

In 2003, the actress got another big role. Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation about 2 lost foreigners meeting in Tokyo brought 2 Best Actress awards to 19-year-old Scarlett. And after that, this film was on various lists of best movies. The same year, the historical drama Girl with a Pearl Earring was released where the young actress portrayed the muse of a Dutch artist and showed different emotions, almost without any words.

“There’s something deep about her. She makes you feel like she has been around the world.”

Soon afterward, Scarlett herself became the actual muse for director Woody Allen, who invited her to be a part of 3 of his films. And after her first work with him in Match Point, she became the most attractive woman in the world. Next, she was in the crime comedy, Scoop, and the really good film,Vicky Cristina Barcelona. These films earned her the image of a femme fatale.

By the way, despite this image, Scarlett celebrated her 20th birthday in Disneyland. She also recalled an episode where she couldn’t take her eyes off a billboard with a photo of herself, where some photographers had tried to highlight some of her body features.

And at about the same time, Scarlett started her music career, released her first album, and tried herself as a director, creating the short film, These Vagabond Shoes, that was a sort of a love letter for New York.

Scarlett started to get tired of her image as a seductress in films after she appeared in Brian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia and in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige. According to Scarlett herself, she wanted to portray an unattractive woman. By the way, once, the actress got rejected because of her attractive appearance. She wanted to be in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but it turns out that because of her appearance, she didn’t get the part.

“Look, we saw some amazing people. Scarlett Johansson was great. It was a great audition, I’m telling you. But the thing with Scarlett is, you can’t wait for her to take her clothes off.”

2010–2013: The Avenger and experiments with independent films

Despite her various works with many famous directors, she became truly “expensive” after she appeared in the Marvel Universe. And in 2010, it was impossible to imagine how phenomenally successful this franchise would become. Taking part in these films was a risk because they could cost someone their career if they turned out to be bad. But it worked out: superhero Natasha Romanoff and her colleagues have been part of pop culture for 10 years now!

At the same time, Scarlett started experimenting with independent films and unusual roles. For example, the independent horror Under the Skin, where she portrayed an emotionless alien. The film creators changed the look of the actress and even used a spy camera to film her walk. The experiment worked: nobody recognized her in Scotland where the shooting took place.

The variety of unusual roles was expanded by the role in Don Jon, the debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a director. She portrayed a girlfriend that was extremely stereotypical. And in Her, she played the main part and never even appeared on the screen: she voiced an operating system Joaquin Phoenix’s character fell in love with.

But despite her different roles, Scarlett’s works were often seen through the lens of her appearance. So, while her Avengers colleagues were asked about their character development, she was constantly asked about her diet, and if it was comfortable to wear underwear under her superhero costume.

2019: Simply the best actress of the decade

2019 has definitely been the best year of her career so far. The end of The Avengers story, where her character sacrificed herself to save the world, earned the actress $35 million.

She also appeared in Marriage Story where she and Adam Driver were amazing as a couple whose marriage was falling apart. This role got her her first Oscar nomination.

But that’s not all. In 2019, Scarlett also appeared in Jojo Rabbit, in the role of a Resistance member that hid a runaway girl at her house. And this won her another Oscar nomination. She became the 12th actress to be nominated twice in one year.

Taika Waititi and Scarlett Johansson

“I’ve always been interested in people who keep others guessing but also people who surprise themselves and work to keep themselves interested. Scarlett’s very caring and interested in people and has a very sharp sense of humor, and those are qualities she played up as Rosie in Jojo. I would love to see her in more smart comedies — not the broad stuff, but something with intelligence behind it.”

Scarlett remains one of the best actresses of the 2010s and the highest-paid movie star in the world. And in spring this year, she’ll appear in Black Widow which is a prequel to her story. She not only plays the main role, but is also a producer of the film.

We’re looking forward to the premiere of the film, and we’re not the only ones.

A few more interesting facts about Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson at the premiere of Ghost in the Shell in 2017 (left) and Jojo Rabbit (right) in 2019.

  • Scarlett Johansson has gotten Oscar nominations for things other than her acting. In 2013, she sang “Before My Time” which was nominated for Best Song.

  • There’s another interesting story. Katy Perry once said that it was a photo of Scarlett she saw accidentally that inspired her to write “I Kissed a Girl”.

Scarlett Johansson at the opening of Yummy Pop, in 2016

  • The actress has a popcorn store in Paris. There was a lot of hype when it was opened. By the way, on the opening day, she was at the counter herself and there were different popcorn flavors like sage, parmesan, and strawberry with cream.

  • Charity and social activities are important parts of Scarlett’s life. She’s donated millions of dollars to children in hospitals: she supports cancer charity foundations, famine and disaster management, and she’s also created a movement for the protection of women from discrimination.

Scarlett Johansson in 2015 at the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron (left) and at the Oscars

  • In 2015, 5 months after her daughter was born, Scarlett went to the Oscar awards ceremony and took her breast pump. “I had to bring my breast pump, because I was nursing and every ounce is like liquid gold,” she says. But her husband accidentally took the bag with all the stuff and they got separated for 3 hours.

  • And, of course, Scarlett loves animals — she has 2 dogs — Maggie and Pancake.

What is your attitude toward Scarlett Johansson? Do you think she’s finally managed to fully discover her talent?

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