How Johansson morphed into Black Widow
SCARLETT Johansson first joined the Marvel comic book superhero universe when she was introduced as the mysterious Black Widow opposite Robert Downey Jr in the 2010 blockbuster Iron Man 2
The action-filled movie role marked a big change for the actress, who’s known more for low-key performances in films like Sofia Coppola’s drama Lost in Translation or Woody Allen’s sly comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
But Johansson is in fighting form to reprise her role as shield agent Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, in Marvel Studios’ The Avengers.
With her bright red hair and latex suit, the Black Widow teams up with Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye and Thor to stop the evil Loki from conquering Earth with his army.
Johansson talks about the film, the fighting style she learned for her role and what it was like to master her character’s native Russian language.
Q: Black Widow was introduced in Iron Man 2 but gets far more exposure in Avengers. How did you expand the character? A: “At the end of Iron Man 2, we know she’s a part of shield, but we don’t know what shield is. In this film, (director) Joss Whedon and I talked about her past. Who is she? How does she get to be a mercenary? What path do you follow in order to get to that place? We both wanted to see the darker side of her - not just that she’s someone who is highly skilled, but why did she have to learn those skills?” You’re in top form physically on screen.
What new fighting skills did you learn? “We incorporated this Wushu style (of fighting) when the Widow wields a huge alien gun.
That was new and really challenging. I had to learn how to spin it and move it. It was hard because I’d hit myself with it all the time. And it’s heavy. You learn (by using) a broom handle so you’re like, ‘Ah, I got it down, I’ve mastered it.’ Then all of a sudden they’re like, ‘Here’s the prop’ and you’re like, ‘What? This thing is 20 lbs!’ I was so terribly battered. I’d wake up every day in agony but it was a continuous thing, so it became normal (laughs).” Black Widow also speaks in her native Russian language, which you seemed to nail.
Was it difficult to learn? “I had two days, so I had to learn it phonetically. I knew what I was saying but I had to be able to pronounce it and breathe some life into the lines so that it didn’t sound like I was repeating some Berlitz tape.
We hired this great Russian translator, and she worked with the dialogue coach. She was really expressive, which helped, so my mouth found the words in a way that didn’t just sound like I was a parrot.” You often play with hair colour in your movie roles. Did you enjoy being a redhead for the duration of the shoot? “It’s nice because it allows me to go a bit under the radar - people don’t expect me to have that colour of hair. I’m always happy when I do it because it’s the first step of the process of finding the character again.
To me more than anything, the hair colour represents a huge piece of work that we dive head first into. And I’m really happy when I can wash it out because then I’m like, ‘Yes, It’s finished, we actually did it!’ Out it goes and you know you’ve accomplished something.” You’re the only female Avenger in the cast.
Did your male co-stars treat you any differently because of that? “If anything, the guys weren’t as delicate with me as I thought they would be. They like to play hard and always dragged me along for the ride. I’d always come back with battle wounds. But they’re a great group of guys. All of us got on so well.” Who did you spend most of your time with on location in New Mexico? “Jeremy (Renner, Hawkeye) because (we share scenes) together a lot. We fight together, so we had to do a lot of our stunt training together. We had the same battle wounds! Tom (Hiddleston, Thor), Jeremy and I spent a lot of time in the stunt gym because we fight so much hand to hand, so we ended up hanging out together. But we all equally had a closeness.” What was the dynamic like with all of you? “We’re all fans of each other’s work. Some of us have worked together in the past. Chris Evans and I have made three movies together. Sam Jackson and I made three movies together. Mark Ruffalo I’ve known for quite some time. Every time Robert (Downey Jr) was on set, it was like, so alive. We’re just lucky that there was no diva on set. It was everybody trying to support one another. It was really nice to have that.” TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK THE cover of Carrie Underwood’s fourth album, Blown Away, illustrates her evolution since her introduction as a young Oklahoma woman with a powerful voice.
Initially, she came across as the friendly girl next door, with songs about Jesus and of compassion for the less fortunate, while showing her wit with empowering songs about getting back at a cheating guy.
The cover of Blown Away depicts the modern Underwood as an airbrushed, supermodel heroine, right leg thrust out forward from a glamourous gown like Angelina Jolie at the Academy Awards. Her opening hit, Good Girl — slamming along to a sneering rock arrangement — chastises a naive girl for not realising she’s being fooled by a conniving lover. The title song tells of an abused daughter hoping a tornado destroys her house — and her father with it. Another, Two Black Cadillacs describes how a wife and a mistress silently share a deadly secret at the funeral of their two-faced man.
Those songs, delivered forcefully with cool distance rather than heated passion, set the tone for Blown Away. Gone is the shy, small-town girl who won the fourth season of American Idol. Unlike her peers Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift, Underwood hasn’t opened herself to fans through songs that reveal her personality; instead, she’s charged forward with a take-no-prisoners attitude that’s more about brassy, modern entertainment than connecting with fans on an intimate level.
One of the album’s gentler songs, Nobody Ever Told You, sweetly advises a woman she’s a jewel without all the glitz and vanity she hides behind. Underwood cowrote the song — and would benefit from taking her song’s advice.
A scene from the film The Avengers.
Carrie Underwood , HOLLYWOOD Saturday, May 5, 2012 35 www.qatar-tribune.com CAMERON DIAZ Cowell wants round two with Cole MUSIC mogul Simon Cowell claims that he “propelled” singer Cheryl Cole into a different league when he appointed her as a judge on The X Factor. Cowell, who had a fallout with Cole after he fired her from the US version of The X Factor last year, said he would love to work with her again, reports femalefirst.co.uk. “Even though we went through that pretty horrible period, I could look Cheryl in the eye and say what I did for her in those two years propelled her into a different league. I always said to her the door is permanently open. It’s entirely up to her what she wants to do,” he told GQ magazine. Cowell admits the sacking of Cole “ended badly” and wishes it had not happened. “If I could reverse time it wouldn’t have happened,” he said.
CHERYL COLE Hair cut leaves Diaz in tears ACTRESS Cameron Diaz says she cried after a hairdresser cut her hair short last year. “There was a little misunderstanding. I said, ‘Oh I just want a little bit off’” contactmusic.com quoted her as saying. On seeing her new style, Cameron was so upset that she burst into tears. “I just burst into tears and started crying, and I felt so vulnerable. For a woman to all of a sudden have no hair, oh my god,” she added. The 39-year-old revealed that the situation was more awkward because the stylist was a friend. “I felt really bad, she felt really bad, she started crying, I started crying. I ended up writing her a few emails after, assuring her I wasn’t going to kill her,” she said.
Scene unscene Blown Away reveals new image of Underwood How Johansson morphed into Black Widow Scarlett Johansson Johansson talks about the film, the fighting style she picked up for her role and what it was like to master her character’s native Russian language