30 Apr

April 30, 2010

One can easily picture Scarlett Johansson in a dramatic film or even a Broadway play, but as the chop-socking superhero Black Widow in Iron Man 2?

The 25-year-old American is a talented and professional thespian, so she’ll make any role work for her. It also helps that voluptuous Johansson is squeezed into a skin-tight catsuit – that should convince any fanboy.

In Iron Man 2, which opens here tomorrow, she plays Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcements and Logistics Division).

Her other guise is Natalie Rushman, a notary public in Stark Industries’ legal department who’s also Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) newest assistant.

If her Black Widow role takes off, she may follow actor-husband Ryan Reynolds’ footsteps and get her own spin-off superhero movie.

Reynolds’ portrayal of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was so popular that Marvel greenlit a Deadpool movie.

Did you read any comic books when you were younger?

Never. It wasn’t until I knew that I was playing the Black Widow that I read much on her.

It’s not that I don’t like comic books but they were just not my hobby growing up. The whole Marvel universe is a crazy one (laughs) and it’s very complicated.

Black Widow is really the first female superhero and over the last 50 years or whatever it is, her story has gone in so many different directions.

You have to take the modern story and pay homage to her origins. And just like Iron Man himself, she has such a complicated background and I kind of like that, but it’s a lot to read through (laughs).

What was it like to play a popular Marvel Comics character like Black Widow?

I was nervous going into it just because there was a lot of physical acting and stunt work and all that stuff. And playing this kind of cool, confident superheroine!

But (Iron Man 2 director) Jon Favreau made it so much fun for me; it was such a pleasure and a real adventure in a way. I had a wonderful time.

What was the most daunting challenge?

Well, the physical stuff just took a lot of time and I didn’t really have any. I was cast about a month before we started shooting. I went from being a person who wasn’t really that physically active to suddenly spending four hours in stunt training and two hours in the gym, trying to build all this strength in such a short period of time.

But we had such an incredible stunt team. I spent so much time with them; I spent more time with them than I did with my own family (laughs).

So I’d say the training was the most daunting part of the job because I wanted to be able to sell it.

Why did you feel it was so important?

Because I didn’t want it to be one of those movies where it’s a fight sequence and the actor says his line and turns around and all you see is the back of them for the entire fight. You want it real.

With this character, you wait so long for her to reveal herself that you really want to see her in action. It was painful but it was worth it in the end.

What was it like when you put on the Black Widow suit for the first time?

I did the camera test in the suit to see what it looked like and that was terrifying because I wasn’t quite in the shape that I wanted to be.

I remember putting it on and I thought it looked really great and it was comfortable. I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to move around in it but it was totally utilitarian. I remember all the Marvel guys and Jon being there and they were just like ‘wow!’

It’s such a powerful thing to wear – it’s skin-tight, it’s got the bracelets, a gun on one belt. It’s no joke, I mean you just have to take the character seriously because she looks like she means war.

There’s talk of interlocking Marvel films. Would you be happy to play her again?

I’d be thrilled to don the catsuit again if the audience is into it. I would love to be able to have the opportunity to explore more of her interesting origin story.

She’s also a part of The Avengers, so who knows?


The NewPaper

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