Scarlett Johansson On the Delay of 'Black Widow' and Having No Regrets
The actor discusses the joy of leading a new guard of superheroes and inspiring young women. – by marie claire
It’s now common cliché to say 2020 has been a bit shit.
But it’s been even more frustrating for people like Scarlett Johansson. Johansson has been working on her upcoming Marvel epic, Black Widow, since 2010 and was gearing up for the long-awaited release this year only for everything to be derailed by the pandemic. We’ve all had plans canned this year, but to have a project that had already been ten years in the making put on hold – again? That’s next level shit.
And in an exclusive chat for marie claire’s December issue (out now), the actor reveals it’s been hard year all-round. “It’s such an uncertain time and there’s a lot of ups and downs – and anxiety – that comes with that,” she said, speaking to Alley Pascoe from her home in New York. “Like so many people, my life came to a screeching halt. It’s been very challenging.”
Disappointment aside, the actor – who recently got married to comedian and SNL cast member Colin Jost – says she has no regrets. “To me, they feel like a waste of time. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish I had acted differently at times, or knew then what I know now, but that’s different than having regret. I try to make active choices and look back with understanding. Regret keeps you stuck in a place as opposed to taking responsibility, understanding and moving on.”
Johansson serves as executive producer on Black Widow in addition to her starring role as Natasha Romanoff, and says one of the highlights was getting to work with Australian director Cate Shortland. “I’m an enormous fan of Cate’s,” Johansson said. “I felt so thankful every single day that we were working together on this. I was relieved to be in her capable hands, because obviously it was hard – after 10 years in the making – to try to imagine who the person would be to have the vision for this movie. Cate was the single person I could think of.”
Despite the film being a about women, having a woman director and comprising a strong cast of women in Johansson and her co-stars Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz, Johansson confesses the set wasn’t quite the sisterhood you might imagine, noting the near all-male crew. “Cate would talk about it all the time! She was like, ‘Where’s all the ladies on this thing?’” she said. “Because of circumstance, like where we were shooting [Norway, Budapest, Morocco and England], the set was male, which is not uncommon, unfortunately. Things are changing now, but it’s still very imbalanced a lot of the time. [But] our core cast and our director were a tight-knit group of strong women.”
Ultimately, though, she’s proud to be leading a new guard of complex, powerful superheroes creating a new world of possibilities for young women, including her six-year-old daughter, Rose. “When I was growing up there were no female superheroes,” she explained. “The superhero genre has completely opened up in the past decade. It’s wonderful to see your kids empowered and inspired by role models that are more than you could’ve imagined for yourself. These characters are pushing boundaries and making things seem possible that were not possible when I was a kid.”
She added, “It’s progressive – and fun! My daughter’s so small, so she’s peripherally aware, but I think it has even more impact as children get a little bit older. If you asked [Rose] who would win a fight between Black Widow and Captain America, she would definitely say Black Widow, which is super cool [laughs]. She’s probably partial!”