In Lucy, Scarlett Johansson plays a woman forced to work as an unwitting drug mule, but is quickly able to turn the tables on her captors when the drugs inside her abdomen begin to leak, giving her superhuman mental abilities and strength.
We asked Johansson why she thinks we're seeing more women in lead superhero roles lately.
"I think that movies follow trends and there is a market now, particularly for young adult franchises, that features female protagonists," said Johansson. But, she adds, "There still has yet to be a film that features a female superhero as the title character that totally works both critically and financially. If films like Lucy bring success at the box office, studios may feel more confident green-lighting genre movies that feature female protagonists."
As Black Widow, Johansson has an insider's view of big studio franchise movies, yet she admits new and recent trends in filmmaking have caught her attention lately.
"What's more interesting to me are the new channels [in] which film and long-format storytelling are finding audiences, be it through online content, grassroots-style fundraising ventures [or] made for television films and series."
Johansson told us that she looks for projects that she feels she can contribute to "but that I don't know how to approach at first. I look for opportunities to collaborate with directors that I respect and admire."
It seems she chose her recent collaborator wisely, as Lucy writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest and most memorable female action heroes in film history. He's the creative mind behind La Femme Nikita, Léon: The Professional and The Fifth Element, as well as the Liam Neeson Taken franchise.
With such high-octane movies under his belt, it's no wonder that Besson's Lucy included some tough action sequences. We asked Johansson which was the hardest to film.
"Probably the scene in which Lucy first ingests the drug she is carrying," said Johansson. "It was shot over several days on a set that was a giant revolving box, essentially."
The intense scene involved the actress being in near-constant motion with the set, while convulsing, for long takes.
"Even though it was natural to go with gravity and slam to the bottom of the set, which was revolving, the movements have to look effortless and of course, show intention," added Johansson. "It was a long and painful week."
If early estimates are correct, all of her hard work and pain is about to pay off with a rocking opening weekend at the box office.
Lucy costars Morgan Freeman and opens July 25. Check out the trailer below and keep your eyes peeled at the 45-second mark to catch a peek at the scene Johansson mentioned above.
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