Scarlett Johansson Breaks Down Her Career, from ‘Her’ to ‘Avengers: Endgame’ | Vanity Fair

published on July 2, 2020

[gentle piano music]

– I'm Scarlett Johansson

and these are the highlights of my career

– What can I get you?

– I'm not sure

– For relaxing times,

make it Suntory time
– Make it Suntory time

– I started working when
I was eight years old

I had met Sofia before

I remember her telling,

she was a big fan of a
film I did when I was 10,

called "Manny and Lo"

– But I'd rather be with Lo any day

She's my sister

and she's good people

– And then a few years later,

I'd met her for "The Virgin
Suicides" for something

I don't remember which part it was

or if I did a reading for her

And so, it wasn't,

I hadn't heard from Sofia in a few years

I was 17 and took a meeting with her

about something that she was writing

and it turned out to be
"Lost in Translation"

And she was in the middle of writing it

I think I committed to the project

before the script was finished

based on the fact that I was
working opposite Bill Murray

and I was such an enormous fan of his

– How long you been married?

– Oh, thank you

Hmm, two years

– 25 long ones

– You're probably just
having a midlife crisis

Did you buy a Porsche yet?

– The shoot was really short

It was only like 26 days
or something like that

So we shot really intensely for that time

I was also 17 years
old and I was in Tokyo

My mom came with me, thankfully,

because it was kind of
a isolating feeling

We were working weird
hours and working a lot

And I kind of felt
transient, in that space,

that head space that the
character Charlotte is in,

a little bit,

where my life was kind
of in between two places

and I was kind of like a girl/woman

I thought it seemed like
an adventurous project

That's how that happened

That's how it started

– I'm not a baby

I know a lot more than
people think I know

Beatrice says to be a woman,
– Yes?

Yeah, why didn't she be a woman?

– I've never imagined

when we were doing "A View
From the Bridge" that,

I never really thought about the Tonys

'cause I had never had an
experience on Broadway before

I hadn't done theater
since I was like a kid,

and I was just learning so much,

really on the stage every night

It was such an incredibly
intense experience

The work was really hard
and really rewarding

and it was very, very
exciting every night

I never knew what was gonna happen

And you know I was working
against Liev Schreiber,

who is such a powerful actor

Just being able to spend my nights,

you know, with Michael and Liev

and you know catch up and
talk about what happened

on the stage that night,

and Greg Mosher directing it

I felt so satisfied creatively,

doing that play

And so you know, of course,

I felt very emotional at
the Tony's because I

The whole thing was so unexpected,

but it was

like just a treasure

– Gee, I'm all mixed up

– You ever box before?

– I have, yes

– Like Tae Bo, booty boot camp, crunch,

something like that?

[clears throat]

– "Iron Man 2" was the first time

I'd ever had to combat train

and it was grueling

I mean I found out that I had got the role

five weeks before we started shooting

and so I just had to
transform in those five weeks,

and so it was a pretty intense time

– Rule number one, never take
your eye off your oppon–

[slam]

– Oh my god!

– It's actually been such a gift for me

because I was probably

maybe 23 or 24 at the time

and it actually gave me this

life of physical acumen I would

probably never have had otherwise

And I learned

the base of a lot of,

you know, different martial arts

and how to be sort of a
very amateur stunt woman

Not that I would ever take the credit away

from the incredible stunt women

that have doubled me,

including Heidi Moneymaker,

who does all the,

that's her real name,

who has done a lot of
Black Widow stuff with me

Yeah, I learned so much from
her during that experience

I really learned how to do,

I mean how to throw a punch,

how to hold a weapon,

you know, all kinds of stuff like that

[action music]

[soft piano music]

– It's pretty, what is that?

– Trying to write a piece of music that's

about what it feels
like to be on the beach

with you right now

– When I heard from my agent that Spike

was looking for a voice actor,

and I remember my agent saying,

"You know, it's a couple days of work

"on his new film"

And I thought all right, you know

He's like,

"Do you wanna kinda go in and
read with him a little bit?"

And okay, you know,

I like to do voice work anyway, you know

I've always liked that

element of acting

Well, first I read the script,

and I remember I called my agent

and I said, "I think
this is pretty extensive

"It seems like more than
a couple of days of work"

But you know, who knows?

I didn't know anything about the project

and maybe Spike had
something else in mind,

and so I went downtown to meet
with him in his apartment

And we started kind of
pulling apart the script

and recording all of these pieces

I think we were together
for like eight hours

or something like that

I thought, "God, this is
like really a lot of work"

I didn't even realize I was auditioning

I didn't know anything really about it

We're at the end of it,

Spike said, "You know,
I think we should

"Thank you so much

"We should keep kind of doing this"

And I thought,

"I think this is like a full job"

[laughs]

But it was so vague

I guess he was kind of feeling it out,

and I think eventually he admitted to me,

and I was like the last
actor he auditioned

I guess it was an audition

There was a lot of issues

with the character

and her story

and her evolution

As Spike was kind of in post was finding

that the relationship
between these two characters

was shifting as he was
putting it together

The character kind of
needed to be fleshed out

almost as a whole,

I'd say, person even though she's an AI,

but she needed to feel like this

full dimensional character,

that had all this,

that had lived this whole full life

[melodic piano music]

– In honor of your fifth time hosting,

we have a very special five
timers jacket just for you

– Ooh!

I think the most challenging
part of hosting SNL

really is the stamina that it requires,

because that week of work is so intense

between whatever pieces you have to learn,

whether it's a song

or doing like a digital short

or whatever other kind of
pre-tape you have to do

Fittings,

promo stuff,

the monologue

It's so much work for the host

and you're pulled in
every different direction,

and everyone needs you all the time

That is the most challenging thing

It's just the stamina required
to actually host the show,

but it's probably

like one of the singular
most rewarding experiences

I've had in my career,

because when the show is good

the vibe, the buzz

that everybody's feeling afterward

is pretty exciting

It's really fun

And also because you get
to work with all these

fantastic performers and comedians

When you're having a great show,

they're also having a great show

You know, it's just a wonderful
collaborative feeling

– Where's the new girl?

– Sorry, here

– [Black Widow] You
here to do your laundry?

– And to see a friend

– Clearly your friend is fine

– I'm really proud of "Endgame"

It was so ambitious

I felt it really, strongly delivered

I felt it was satisfying

Actually I felt like
"Endgame" elevated the genre

in a lot of ways

and it actually allowed
all of us, as characters,

to have great dramatic moments,

where you don't normally
have that much room

in those genre movies because
they're so plot driven

But this movie could actually,

it actually felt quite character driven

I felt very emotional when I watched it

but also really proud of it

– Let me go
[somber music]

– No

Please, no

– Someday you'll meet someone special

– Why does everyone keep telling me that?

– Who else tells you that?

– I think what's really
exciting about "Jojo Rabbit,"

is it's just very different

It looks different

The story is so original

and refreshing, you know?

When I read that script it
was this perfect little gem

It was such a beautiful, perfect script

It was emotional and I cried

and I just found it so special

Taika is obviously a, you know,

wellspring of creative energy

He's an amazing comedian

He's an incredible writer

He's a fantastic dramatic actor,

and he understands

those many facets of,

you know,

performance of a story

and the value of them

He's kind of a mad scientist

He'll come up on the moment
with these crazy speeches

and dialogue and suggestions

and you know,

he's got so much

sort of frenetic creative energy

that it's intoxicating

"Jojo Rabbit" is not like any one thing

It's super dynamic

The most exciting thing to me is

that when movies like
that are able to get made

the way they're supposed to,

they look like they're supposed to,

they're given attention
and time and money

They come out and people
actually respond to them

It's exciting because it shows you

that you can actually
still make stuff like that

That there's still a place for movies

in the theater that people will go and see

and that you can tell unique stories in

It's good for everybody
when those movies do well

and strike a chord

The response has been
just really wonderful

– It's a stupid idea

– You're stupid

– [Charlie] What I love about Nicole:

♪ Loving you ♪

She's a great dancer

Infectious

– I think "Marriage Story"
is definitely you know,

there's a lot of complex emotional

The relationship between the
two characters is complicated,

like any relationship that's meaningful

And you know, there's
10 years of history and

there's a lot of different
kinds of feelings

all happening at the same time

Which is not to say that
it was all super heavy

While it was exhausting
and the days were long,

because Noah is relentless

in his search for every,

you know,

possibility and exhausting
every kind of angle

of any given scene

Because of that,

and because you had all this

sort of room to spread out,

it actually felt really liberating,

like kind of light in a way

Even though the material is heavy,

it's also kind of playful

I think as an actor

you feel invigorated

by stuff that's working
and stuff that feels real

and complicated and surprising

It may seem that you would carry around

this kind of weight while you're doing

heavy dramatic lifting like that,

but in fact,

it's kind of like going to the gym

and lifting a heavy weight

And then you feel this kind of
rush of endorphin afterward,

you know?

You feel like light, and fit and great

We just wrapped "Black
Widow" like two weeks ago

or something like that,

so it's very fresh in my mind

and I don't have a total
perspective on it yet

But it's a film about,

about self-forgiveness

And it's a film about family

I think in life we sort
of come of age many times

in your life and you have
these kind of moments

where you're kind of
in a transitional phase

and then you move sort of beyond it

And I think in the "Black
Widow" standalone film,

I think the character is at,

when we find her,

is in a moment of real crisis

And throughout the film,

by facing herself,

in a lot of ways,

and all the things that make her her,

she actually kind of
comes through that crisis

on the other side

and is able to sort of reset

into a space where she's a more grounded

self-possessed person

So that's her journey

Well, I hope anyway

[jazzy horn music]

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