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Scarlett Johansson Bio
Scarlett Johansson (born November 22, 1984) is an American actress, model, and singer. She made her film debut in North (1994). Johansson subsequently starred in Manny & Lo in 1996, and garnered further acclaim and prominence with roles in The Horse Whisperer (1998) and Ghost World (2001). She shifted to adult roles with her performances in Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) and Sofia Coppola‘s Lost in Translation (2003), for which she won a BAFTA award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Her subsequent films included A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004), Woody Allen‘s Match Point (2005), The Island (2005), The Black Dahlia (2006), The Prestige (2006), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) and He’s Just Not That Into You (2009). She has portrayed the Marvel Comics character Black Widow / Natasha Romanoff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; appearing in Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), and in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Johansson’s recent work includes roles in Don Jon (2013), Her and Under the Skin (2014). She won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in the 2010 Broadway revival of Arthur Miller‘s A View from the Bridge. As a singer, Johansson has released two albums, Anywhere I Lay My Head and Break Up.
Johansson is considered one of Hollywood’s modern sex symbols, and has frequently appeared in published lists of the sexiest women in the world, including when she was named the “Sexiest Woman Alive” by Esquire magazine in both 2006 and 2013 (the only woman to be chosen for the title twice), and the “Sexiest Celebrity” by Playboy magazine in 2007.
Johansson began acting during childhood, after her mother started taking her to auditions. She would audition for commercials but took rejection so hard her mother began limiting her to film tryouts. She made her film debut at the age of 9, as John Ritter‘s daughter in the 1994 fantasy comedy, North. Following minor roles in the 1995 film Just Cause, as the daughter of Sean Connery and Kate Capshaw, and If Lucy Fell in 1996, she played the role of Amanda in Manny & Lo (1996). Her performance in Manny & Lo garnered a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female, and positive reviews, one noting, “[the film] grows on you, largely because of the charm of … Scarlett Johansson”, while San Francisco Chronicle critic Mick LaSalle commentated on her “peaceful aura”, and wrote, “If she can get through puberty with that aura undisturbed, she could become an important actress.”
After appearing in minor roles in Fall and Home Alone 3 in 1997, Johansson garnered widely spread attention for her performance in the 1998 film The Horse Whisperer, directed by Robert Redford. She received a nomination for the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress for the film. In 1999, she appeared in My Brother the Pig and in 2001 in the neo-noir Coen brothers film The Man Who Wasn’t There. Also in 1999, she appeared in the music video for Mandy Moore‘s single, “Candy“. Although the film was not a box office success, she received praise for her break-out role in Ghost World (2001). Credited with “sensitivity and talent [that] belie her age”. In 2002, she appeared in Eight Legged Freaks with David Arquette.
Transition to adult roles
Johansson made the transition from teen roles to adult roles, with two roles in 2003. In the Sofia Coppola film Lost in Translation, she played Charlotte, a listless and lonely young wife, opposite Bill Murray. Roger Ebert wrote that he loved the film and described the performances of Johansson and Murray as “wonderful.” Entertainment Weekly wrote of Johansson’s “embracing, restful serenity,” and the New York Times said, “At 18, the actress gets away with playing a 25-year-old woman by using her husky voice to test the level of acidity in the air … Ms. Johansson is not nearly as accomplished a performer as Mr. Murray, but Ms. Coppola gets around this by using Charlotte’s simplicity and curiosity as keys to her character.” Johansson won the BAFTA Award and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. She received nominations from a number of film critic organizations, including the Broadcast Film Critics Association, and the Chicago Film Critics Association,
At age 18, Johansson played Griet in Peter Webber‘s Girl with a Pearl Earring. While noting, “Audiences feel as if they are spying on a moment of artistic inspiration when painter Vermeer creates the title work”, USA Today praised her, suggesting, “[She] is having a banner year that Oscar voters should recognize.” In his review for the New Yorker, Anthony Lane said, “What keeps Webber’s movie alive is the tenseness of the setup … and, above all, the presence of Johansson. She is often wordless and close to plain onscreen, but wait for the ardor with which she can summon a closeup and bloom under its gaze; this is her film, not Vermeer’s, all the way.” Owen Gleiberman, for Entertainment Weekly, wrote of her “nearly silent performance”, observing, “The interplay on her face of fear, ignorance, curiosity, and sex is intensely dramatic.” She was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She was nominated by the London Film Critics’ Circle, the Phoenix Film Critics Society.
Johansson was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2004. The same year, she had voice or onscreen roles in five films: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie; A Good Woman, an adaptation of Oscar Wilde‘s Lady Windermere’s Fan, which had a limited U.S. release, and was both a box office and critical failure, described by the The New York Times as a “misbegotten Hollywood-minded screen adaptation” with “an excruciating divide between the film’s British actors (led by Tom Wilkinson and Stephen Campbell Moore), who are comfortable delivering Wilde’s aphorisms … and its American marquee names, Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson, [who have] little connection to the English language as spoken in the high Wildean style”; the critically panned teen heist film The Perfect Score, the romantic comedy In Good Company, a critical and box office success; and, finally, the dark, Southern drama, A Love Song for Bobby Long, for which she earned her a third Golden Globe for Best Actress nomination.
In July 2005, Johansson starred, with Ewan McGregor, in Michael Bay‘s science fiction film, The Island, in dual roles as Sarah Jordan and her clone, Jordan Two Delta. The film was a commercial failure and received mixed critical reviews. In contrast, her role as Nola, the American actress with whom Chris (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is obsessed, in the Woody Allen-directed drama Match Point, was well received. The New York Times said, “Ms. Johansson and Mr. Rhys-Meyers manage some of the best acting seen in a Woody Allen movie in a long time, escaping the archness and emotional disconnection that his writing often imposes.” Johansson received her fourth Golden Globe nomination, and one from the Chicago Film Critics Association, for Best Supporting Actress.
In another collaboration with Allen, she was cast opposite Hugh Jackman and Allen in the 2006 film Scoop. While the film enjoyed a modest worldwide box office success, it received mixed reviews by critics. The same year, she appeared in Brian De Palma‘s The Black Dahlia, a film noir shot in Los Angeles and Bulgaria. Johansson later said she was a De Palma fan and had wanted to work with him on the film, even though she thought that she was “physically wrong” for the part.
Johansson next had a supporting role in the Christopher Nolan thriller The Prestige (2006), again opposite Hugh Jackman, as well as Christian Bale. Nolan, who described Johansson as possessing an “ambiguity… a shielded quality”, said he was “very keen” for her to play the role. Johansson said, “I loved working with [Christopher Nolan]. He’s incredibly focused and driven and involved, and really involved in the performance in every aspect. He’s incredible to watch.” The film was both a critical and a worldwide box office success, recommended by the Los Angeles Times as “an adult, provocative piece of work.” Also in 2006, Johansson starred in the short film ‘When The Deal Goes Down, directed by Bennett Miller, set to Bob Dylan‘s “When the Deal Goes Down…”, released to promote Dylan’s album, Modern Times.
Johansson starred in 2007’s The Nanny Diaries, alongside Laura Linney. The film performed only marginally well at the box office, and was critically panned. Johansson’s reviews were mixed, with Variety saying, “[She] essays an engaging heroine”, while The New Yorker criticized her for looking “merely confused” while “trying to give the material a plausible emotional center”.
In 2008, Johansson starred in The Other Boleyn Girl, with Natalie Portman and Eric Bana, a film which garnered mixed reviews. Writing for Rolling Stone, Pete Travers criticized the film for “[moving] in frustrating herks and jerks”, but was more positive in his assessment of Johansson and Portman, and wrote, “What works is the combustible teaming of Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, who give the Boleyn hotties a tough core of intelligence and wit, swinging the film’s sixteenth-century protofeminist issues handily into this one.”
Johansson filmed her third Woody Allen film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, in Spain, appearing opposite Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz. The film was one of Allen’s most profitable and appeared on many critics’ top ten lists of the best films of 2008. She also played the femme fatale Silken Floss in Frank Miller‘s film noir, comedy adaptation of The Spirit. The film received mostly poor reviews. Johansson later appeared in the role of Anna, a yoga instructor, in the 2009 ensemble cast of He’s Just Not That Into You, with Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Drew Barrymore and Kevin Connolly. The film was a box office success but only gained average critical reception.
In March 2009, Johansson signed on to play Natalia Romanova/Natasha Romanoff, aka “The Black Widow” in Iron Man 2 after Emily Blunt turned down the role. The film was released in May 2010. The film was a box office success and received mostly positive reviews from critics. In 2011, Johansson played the role of Kelly, a zookeeper in the family film We Bought a Zoo. The film gained mainly favorable reviews.
In November 2011, it was reported she plans to make her directional debut by adapting Truman Capote‘s novel, Summer Crossing whose screenplay will be written by playwright Tristine Skyler. Johansson reprised the role of Natasha Romanoff in The Avengers in 2012. The Avengers received positive reviews and was highly successful at the box office, becoming the third highest-grossing film both in the United States and worldwide. In early March 2012, it was announced that Johansson had been cast as Janet Leigh in the Sacha Gervasi-directed film Hitchcock, a behind-the-scenes drama about the making of Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1960 film Psycho. Released in November 2012, Hitchcock received mixed to positive reviews.
Johansson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 2, 2012, located at 6931 Hollywood Blvd., in front of Madame Tussauds Hollywood wax museum. Also in 2012, Johansson was cast in Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s directorial debut, Don Jon. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and had its wide release in September 2013. Don Jon received positive reviews. Johansson’s performance was highlighted by critics; Claudia Puig of USA Today stated that she “gives one of her best performances as the bossy, gum-chewing Jersey girl”.
In 2013, Johansson voiced the character Samantha, an intelligent computer operating system, in the Spike Jonze film Her, replacing Samantha Morton in the role. The film received critical acclaim upon release with Johansson’s performance being well-received among critics. Johansson was also cast in the 2013 film Under the Skin, the film adaptation of Michel Faber‘s novel of the same name, directed by Jonathan Glazer, appearing in a role which required full frontal nudity. The film was released in the United States in 2014, to positive reviews. Johansson’s performance received a positive reception.
In October 2014, it was announced that Johannson will star in and executive produce the upcoming eight-episode period series The Custom of the Country, based on Edith Wharton‘s 1913 novel of the same name. She is set to play Undine Spragg, a young woman from the Midwest who tries to climb her way up the New York City social ladder. It will be written by Christopher Hampton.
Johansson reprised her role as Black Widow in the 2014 sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier, alongside frequent co-star Chris Evans as the title character. The film received positive reviews. She played Molly in the 2014 film Chef, alongside Jon Favreau, Robert Downey, Jr. and Sofía Vergara. She also starred in Lucy, a science fiction action film directed by Luc Besson, which was released on July 25, 2014. The film received largely positive, but also polarizing, critical reviews, with praise for Johansson’s performance, and grossed $458 million against a budget of $40 million.
In 2015, Johansson again played the Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron, alongside the original cast of the first Avengers film. A mixture of close-ups, concealing costumes, stunt doubles and visual effects were used to help hide Johansson’s pregnancy during filming.
On January 5, 2015, Variety announced that Johannson has signed on to play the lead role in a film adaptation of the Ghost in the Shell franchise, which will be directed by Rupert Sanders and produced by Avi Arad and Steven Paul. The casting of Johansson for the film was met with immense criticism from fans and critics, calling the choice “whitewashing”. A petition was created in the effort to have Johansson removed from the project.
Johansson will again reprise her role as Black Widow in Captain America: Civil War. The film is set for a May 2016 release.