Scarlett Johansson was quite the alluring vision during her first appearance at Comic Con. Beautifully attired in a short, cream dress and wearing gold, high-heeled shoes, it was clear that the gorgeous actress was overwhelmed by this convention. But as we chatted following the preview of Iron Man 2, Johansson spoke about her new found love for kicking butt and the future of Black Widow in other Marvel properties.
Question: What was that experience like for you downstairs on the panel?
Johansson: It was incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. I have never experienced anything like that before, two weeks after filming has wrapped. It’s exciting to be a part of something that kind of has this built in fan base that’s got this electricity around it. It’s exciting.
Question: Is it true that you dyed your hair for your first meeting with Jon [Favreau]?
Johansson: Not for my first meeting with Jon, I had actually met with Jon and Kevin [Feige] about a year before pre-production started and we just talked about some of the super heroines in the Marvel Universe. One of them is Black Widow and I think they were kind of toying with the idea of putting the character into the film, and how they would work it in, and all that kind of thing. Then when I had met Jon the second time I did have red hair. Part of it was me hoping… Part of that was me wanting to experiment with my hair color and the other part of that was me kind of hoping that Jon would like the fact that I had experimented.
Question: How did you like doing the super hero thing?
Johansson: In what regard?
Question: As a new experience for you was it everything you imagined?
Johansson: I have to say that I really was able to work with such and incredible and supportive group of people. That helped of course with any nerves I may have had. It was a lot of work. It’s a lot of work because you want to buy it. You want to buy that the character is able to kick some major ass.
Question: It does look like that in the footage. The footage was amazing. How much did you do to prepare for all of that physical stuff?
Johansson: I kicked some major butt? It was many, many, hours, days, and months of stunt training, and strength training. But it’s fun because I had a goal. The goal was the Lycra cat suit.
Question: Was there anything surprising that you didn’t expect?
Johansson: An element of surprise? Um. I mean everything was surprising to me when I was making this movie. I was such a fan of the first one so I kind of went in as a bit of a… I was kind of geeked out by the movie to begin with. I think 80 percent of the crew came back for the second time. I was really surprised to find that this movie that was kind of seemingly larger than life was such a small, sort of familial feeling on set. Even though we were making this huge movie we had Kevin Feige was there everyday. I don’t know, it just felt like the whole studio was behind the movie in a really kind of supportive and nurturing way.
Question: Is this a character that might be spun off and have her own film? Is that something that has been talked about at all?
Johansson: I hope so. I mean I think it all depends on how the fans react to the character, which I hope people like the character of course. I love the character. You will have to ask Kevin Feige that, but I hope she does turn up. If not in her own film then in future series, and perhaps the next film.
Question: There is a lot of super hero stuff going on in your family right now. Is your place just filled with comic books? Did you guys research?
Johansson: I have quite a few stacks of comic books. We’re in completely different universes over there but its kind of something that I’m certainly delving into for the first time. There is quite a stack.
Question: Were you familiar with the character or did you have to do a lot of research to study for that part?
Johansson: I was familiar with the character as far as I had researched different super heroines. But I didn’t know that much about the characters background. Only that she was kind of the oldest of the super heroines and has this incredible fan base. She’s had many incarnations. I think that the research that I did was mostly a lot of the stunt work that I put into it. The character herself I think remains quite mysterious, which is important. She’s covert.
Question: Was the super hero genre something you wanted to get into? Was this a type of film you wanted to do for a long time?
Johansson: I never really had thought about it before. Honestly, I have to say that before I saw the first ‘Iron Man’ movie I had never really thought much about playing a super hero of any kind.
Question: There is no geek within you?
Johansson: Certainly there is a major geek within me. Actually, just kind of right on the surface. When I saw the first one it was because my Mom called me and said ‘Did you see “Iron Man”?’ I was like ‘Iron Man’? ‘I would see it but it’s not really my kind of thing.’ I thought if my Mom is telling me to see ‘Iron Man’ it’s got to be great. It’s not like my Mom is a comic book fan. When I went to see it I was just so blown away. I had never seen anything like that before in this genre.
Question: When you had that first meeting were you bringing a couple of possible super heroines that you could play? Did they have something in mind for you?
Johansson: There were different characters like Moon, and… what’s her name? The Scarlet Witch? The Blonde Phantom. Is that another one that we talked about perhaps? Am I getting them all wrong? There was a couple that I looked through and thought ‘Okay, these are kind of characters that maybe could work somewhere.’
Question: How did you connect as an actress to the character aside from the physical challenge? What did you find after you finally read the script and were on set doing scenes?
Johansson: I think that the character is sort of a shape shifter. It was sort of like playing two different characters. One character that is more kind of mysterious, I don’t want to say submissive, but she’s blending in with the crowd I suppose. The other part of this character is someone who is assertive and knows their shit. She’s able to just say ‘I’m going to fight this head on.’ For me, being able to have that kind of feeling, being able to be competent enough to sell it, that this is somebody who is going to kick some ass and don’t for a second doubt that she’s going to follow through with the punch. It was a challenge for me but Jon was incredible. He really supported me with this.
Question: Were you happy with the way you looked in the cat suit?
Johansson: Finally I was, yes. I have to say that you put that much work into something and you put it on, and you better be happy with it.
Question: When you saw yourself in that outfit for the first time how was it?
Johansson: It was crazy to see it for the first time. Everything all zipped up and all the weapons in there, bracelets on, and the whole look. It was pretty sweet I have to say. Certainly walking on set, because a lot of the people that worked on the film were fans of the comic, and of course they knew the Black Widow. They were all super excited to see the Black Widow. When they, and everybody in the crew were like ‘That looks awesome.’ I knew like ‘Okay.’
Question: But how did it feel?
Johansson: How did it feel? Warm. Warm and stretchy.
Question: Those shoes are incredible.
Johansson: Thank you. They are my super hero booties.
Paul Fischer is originally from Australia. Now he is an interviewer and film critic living in Hollywood.
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