Now that Scarlett Johansson is 38 years old, she can look back on her younger days as an actress in Hollywood with more perspective. She’s carved out a successful career for herself, but she’s also revealing that the early days in her career took a dark turn at one point.
The Black Widow star found herself becoming “an ingénue” after generating major buzz in movies like Ghost World and Lost in Translation. That’s when things to a sharp turn in her career because “young girls like that are really objectified,” Johannsson explained on iHeartMedia’s Table for Two with Bruce Bozzi podcast, co-produced by Air Mail. “It was stuff with my management at the time, that was a big part of it, and my agency and all that stuff,” she elaborated. “I was kind of being groomed in a way to be this, what you call a ‘bombshell’ type of actor.”
It put her in an uncomfortable position because she was suddenly “playing the other woman and the objective desire” — she was getting typecast in a role that didn’t feel good to play onscreen all of the time. “I suddenly found myself cornered in this place – like I couldn’t get out of it,” Johansson added. It took getting cast in Iron Man 2 to get her out of that terrible spot in her career — but it wasn’t perfect from the start.
“That part [Black Widow] at the time was very underdeveloped and oversexualized, but I wanted to form a relationship with [director] Jon Favreau, who I’ve worked with a couple of times after that and who is an inspiration for me,” she explained. “So, I wanted to align myself with that. That was one piece which turned out to be a very good bet.” That move away from playing provocative parts led to Johansson taking charge of her career and finding ways to break out of Hollywood stereotypes that weren’t serving her well.
Before you go, click here to see celebrities who have spoken out about being sexualized too young.