Scarlett Johansson Actress Biography
Johansson has lent her support to various charitable organizations, including “Aid Still Required, Cancer Research UK, Stand Up To Cancer, Too Many Women” (which works against breast cancer), and “USA Harvest”, which provides food for people in need. In 2005, Johansson became a global ambassador for the aid and development agency Oxfam. In 2007, she took part in the anti-poverty campaign ONE, which was organized by U2’s lead singer Bono. In March 2008, a UK-based bidder paid £20,000 on an eBay auction to benefit Oxfam, winning a hair and makeup treatment, a pair of tickets, and a chauffeured trip to accompany her on a 20-minute date to the world premiere of He’s Just Not That into You.
In 2019, Johansson once again reprised her role as Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame, which was the highest-grossing film of all time until it was surpassed by the Chinese re-release of James Cameron’s Avatar in March 2021. She next starred in Noah Baumbach’s Netflix film Marriage Story, in which Adam Driver and she played a warring couple who file for divorce. Johansson connected with her character as she herself was amid her divorce proceedings at the time. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian commended her “brilliantly textured” performance in it. She also took on the supporting role of a young boy’s mother who shelters a Jewish girl in Nazi Germany in Taika Waititi’s satire Jojo Rabbit. Waititi modeled the character on his own mother and cast Johansson to provide her a rare opportunity to perform comedy. The film received polarizing reviews, but Stephanie Zacharek labeled her the “lustrous soul of the movie.” Johansson received her first two Academy Award nominations, for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for her performances in Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit, respectively, becoming the eleventh performer to be nominated for two Oscars in the same year. She also received two BAFTA nominations for these films, and a Golden Globe nomination for the former.
In September 2009, Johansson and singer-songwriter Pete Yorn released a collaborative album, Break Up, inspired by Serge Gainsbourg’s duets with Brigitte Bardot. The album reached number 41 in the US. In 2010, Steel Train released Terrible Thrills Vol. 1, which includes their favorite female artists singing songs from their self-titled album. Johansson is the first artist on the album, singing “Bullet”. Johansson sang “One Whole Hour” for the 2011 soundtrack of the documentary film Wretches & Jabberers (2010). and in 2012 sang on a J. Ralph track entitled “Before My Time” for the end credits of the climate documentary Chasing Ice (2012)
Variety opined that Lost in Translation and Girl with a Pearl Earring established Johansson among the most versatile actresses of her generation. She had five releases in 2004, three of which—the teen heist film The Perfect Score, the drama A Love Song for Bobby Long, and the drama A Good Woman—were critical and commercial failures. Co-starring with John Travolta, Johansson played a discontented and suspicious teenager in A Love Song for Bobby Long, which is based on the novel Off Magazine Street by Ronald Everett Capps. David Rooney of Variety wrote that Johansson’s and Travolta’s performances rescued the film. She received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama nomination for it.
Johansson has been called “ScarJo” by the media and fans, but dislikes the nickname, finding it lazy, flippant and insulting. She does not have social media as she does not see the need “to continuously share details of everyday life.”
Continuing her work in the MCU, Johansson reprised her role as Black Widow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). In the film, she joins forces with Captain America (Chris Evans) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to uncover a conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D., while facing a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier. Johansson and Evans wrote their own dialogue for several scenes they had together. She was drawn to her character’s way of doing her job, employing her feminine wiles and not her physical appeal. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $714 million worldwide. Critic Odie Henderson saw “a genuine emotional shorthand at work, especially from Johansson, who is excellent here”. The role earned her a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination.
Johansson was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2004. In 2006, she appeared on Forbes’ Celebrity 100, and again in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. Johansson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2012. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Forbes ranked her among the world’s highest-paid actresses with annual earnings of $17 million, $35.5 million, and $25 million, respectively. The magazine ranked her as the world’s highest-paid actress in 2018 and 2019, with respective earnings of $40.5 million and $56 million. She was the highest-grossing actor of 2016, with a total of $1.2 billion. As a result, IndieWire praised her for taking on risky roles. In 2019, The Hollywood Reporter listed her among the 100 most powerful people in entertainment. As of September 2019 , her films have grossed over $5.2 billion in North America and over $14.3 billion worldwide, making Johansson the third-highest-grossing box-office star of all time both domestically and worldwide as well as the highest-grossing actress of all time in North America.
Two of Johansson’s films in 2006 explored the world of stage magicians, both opposite Hugh Jackman. Allen cast her opposite Jackman and himself in the film Scoop (2006), in which she played a journalism student. The film was a modest worldwide box office success, but polarized critics. Ebert was critical of the film, but found Johansson “lovely as always”, and Mick LaSalle noted the freshness she brought to her part. She also appeared in Brian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia, a film noir shot in Los Angeles and Bulgaria. Johansson later said she was a fan of De Palma and had wanted to work with him on the film, but thought that she was unsuitable for the part. Anne Billson of The Daily Telegraph likewise found her miscast. However, CNN said that she “takes to the pulpy period atmosphere as if it were oxygen”.
Scarlett Ingrid Johansson was born on November 22, 1984, in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Her father, Karsten Olaf Johansson, is an architect originally from Copenhagen, Denmark. Her paternal grandfather, Ejner Johansson, was an art historian, screenwriter, and film director, whose own father was Swedish. Her mother, Melanie Sloan, is a New Yorker who has worked as a producer. She comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish family from Poland and Russia, originally surnamed Schlamberg, and Johansson has described herself as Jewish. She has an older sister, Vanessa, also an actress; an older brother, Adrian; and a twin brother, Hunter. Johansson also has an older half-brother, Christian, from her father’s first marriage. Johansson holds dual American and Danish citizenship. In 2017, she discovered on the PBS show Finding Your Roots that her maternal great-grandfather’s family died during the Holocaust in the Warsaw Ghetto.
While attending PCS, Johansson dated classmate Jack Antonoff from 2001 to 2002. She dated her Black Dahlia co-star Josh Hartnett for about two years until the end of 2006. Hartnett said they broke up because their busy schedules kept them apart. Johansson began a relationship with actor Ryan Reynolds in 2007. The pair became engaged in May 2008 and married that September. They separated in December 2010 and divorced in July 2011.
In January 2008, her campaign for Democratic candidate Barack Obama included appearances in Iowa targeted at younger voters, an appearance at Cornell College, and a speaking engagement at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, on Super Tuesday, 2008. Johansson appeared in the music video for rapper will.i.am’s song, “Yes We Can” (2008), directed by Jesse Dylan; the song was inspired by Obama’s speech after the 2008 New Hampshire primary. In February 2012, Johansson and Anna Wintour hosted a fashion launch of pro-Obama clothing, bags, and accessories, whose proceeds went to the President’s re-election campaign. She addressed voters at the Democratic National Convention in September 2012, calling for Obama’s re-election and for more engagement from young voters. She urged women to vote for Obama and condemned Mitt Romney for his opposition to Planned Parenthood.
Johansson’s sole release of 2007 was the critically panned comedy-drama The Nanny Diaries alongside Chris Evans and Laura Linney, in which she played a college graduate working as a nanny. Reviews of her performance were mixed; Variety wrote, ” essays an engaging heroine”, and The New Yorker criticized her for looking “merely confused” while “trying to give the material a plausible emotional center”. In 2008, Johansson starred, with Natalie Portman and Eric Bana, in The Other Boleyn Girl, which also earned mixed reviews. Promoting the film, Johansson and Portman appeared on the cover of W, discussing with the magazine the public’s reception of them. Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers criticized the film for ” in frustrating herks and jerks”, but thought the duo were the only positive aspect of the production. Variety credited the cast as “almost flawless … at the top of its game”, citing “Johansson’s quieter Mary … as the [film’s] emotional center”.
In 2010, Johansson debuted on Broadway in a revival of A View from the Bridge, which won her a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress, and began playing the role of Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man 2, which won her critical acclaim. Johansson went on to star in the science fiction films Her (2013), Under the Skin (2013), Lucy (2014), Ghost in the Shell (2017) and comedy films Hail, Caesar! (2016) and Rough Night (2017). She received critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations for playing an actress going through a divorce in the drama Marriage Story (2019) and a single mother in Nazi Germany in the satire Jojo Rabbit (2019).
In January 2013, Johansson starred in a Broadway revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Rob Ashford. Set in the Mississippi Delta, it examines the relationships within the family of Big Daddy (played by Ciarán Hinds), primarily between his son Brick (played by Benjamin Walker) and Maggie (played by Johansson). Her performance received mixed reviews. Entertainment Weekly’s Thom Geier wrote that “Johansson brings a fierce fighting spirit” to her part, while Joe Dziemianowicz of Daily News called her performance “alarmingly one-note”. The 2013 Sundance Film Festival hosted the premiere of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, Don Jon. In this romantic comedy-drama, she played a woman perplexed by the pornography-addicted title character. Gordon-Levitt wrote the role for Johansson, who admired his acting work. The film received positive reviews and Johansson’s performance was highlighted by critics. Claudia Puig of USA Today considered it to be one of her best performances.
In November 2012, Johansson began dating Frenchman Romain Dauriac, the owner of an advertising agency. They became engaged the following September. The couple divided their time between New York City and Paris. In 2014, she gave birth to their daughter, Rose Dorothy Dauriac. Johansson and Dauriac married that October in Philipsburg, Montana. They separated in mid-2016 and divorced in September 2017. Johansson began a relationship with Saturday Night Live co-head writer and Weekend Update co-host Colin Jost in May 2017. They became engaged in May 2019 and married in October 2020. Johansson resides in New York and Los Angeles as of October 2018 .
In Peter Webber’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, which is based on the novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, Johansson played Griet, a young 17th-century servant in the household of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (played by Colin Firth). Webber interviewed 150 actors before casting Johansson. Johansson found the character moving, but did not read the novel, as she thought it was better to approach the story with a fresh start. Girl with a Pearl Earring received positive reviews and was profitable. In his review for The New Yorker, Anthony Lane thought that her presence kept the film “alive”, writing, “She is often wordless and close to plain onscreen, but wait for the ardor with which she can summon a closeup and bloom under its gaze; this is her film, not Vermeer’s, all the way.” Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly noted her “nearly silent performance”, remarking, “The interplay on her face of fear, ignorance, curiosity, and sex is intensely dramatic.” She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress for both films in 2003, winning the former for Lost in Translation.
Johansson had aspired to perform on Broadway since childhood. She made her debut in a 2010 revival of Arthur Miller’s drama A View from the Bridge. Set in the 1950s, in an Italian-American neighborhood in New York, it tells the tragic tale of Eddie (played by Liev Schreiber), who has an inappropriate love for his wife’s orphaned niece, Catherine (played by Johansson). After some reservations about playing a teenage character, she agreed to the play when a friend convinced her to take on the part. David Rooney was impressed with the play and Johansson in particular, describing her as the chief performer, and Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote that she “melts into her character so thoroughly that her nimbus of celebrity disappears”. She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Some critics and Broadway actors criticized the award committee’s decision to reward the work of mainstream Hollywood actors, including Johansson. In response, she said she understood the frustration, but had worked hard for her accomplishments.
Also in 2006, Johansson starred in the short film When the Deal Goes Down to accompany Bob Dylan’s song “When the Deal Goes Down…” from the album Modern Times. Johansson had a supporting role of assistant and lover of Jackman’s character, an aristocratic magician, in Christopher Nolan’s mystery thriller The Prestige (2006). Nolan thought Johansson possessed “ambiguity” and “a shielded quality”. She was fascinated with Nolan’s directing methods and liked working with him. The film was a critical and box office success, recommended by the Los Angeles Times as “an adult, provocative piece of work”. Some critics were skeptical of her performance: Billson again judged her miscast, and Dan Jolin of Empire criticized her English accent.
Born and raised in Manhattan, New York City, Johansson aspired to be an actress from a young age and first appeared on stage in an Off-Broadway play as a child actor. She made her film debut in the fantasy comedy North (1994), and gained early recognition for her roles in Manny & Lo (1996), The Horse Whisperer (1998), and Ghost World (2001). Johansson shifted to adult roles in 2003 with her performances in Lost in Translation, which won her a BAFTA Award for Best Actress, and Girl with a Pearl Earring. She was nominated for Golden Globe Awards for these films, and for playing a troubled teenager in the drama A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004), and a seductress in the psychological thriller Match Point (2005). Other works during this period include The Prestige (2006) and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008); and the albums Anywhere I Lay My Head (2008) and Break Up (2009), both of which charted on the Billboard 200.
In 2018, she collaborated with 300 women in Hollywood to set up the Time’s Up initiative to protect women from harassment and discrimination. Johansson took part in the 2018 Women’s March in Los Angeles, where she spoke on topics such as abuses of power, sharing her own experience. She received backlash for calling out actor James Franco on allegations of sexual misconduct as in the past she had been silent on working with Woody Allen amid accusation by his daughter Dylan Farrow.
With David Arquette, Johansson appeared in the horror comedy Eight Legged Freaks (2002), about a collection of spiders that are exposed to toxic waste, causing them to grow to gigantic proportions and begin killing and harvesting. After graduating from Professional Children’s School that year, she applied to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; she decided to focus on her film career when she was rejected.
In 2015 and 2016, Johansson again played Black Widow in the MCU films Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. During filming of the former, a mixture of close-ups, concealing costumes, stunt doubles and visual effects were used to hide her pregnancy. Both films earned more than $1.1 billion, ranking among the highest-grossing films of all time. For Civil War, Johansson earned her second nomination for Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actress in an Action Movie and her fourth for Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. Earlier in 2016, Johansson had featured in the Coen brothers’ well-received comedy film Hail, Caesar! about a “fixer” working in the classical Hollywood cinema, trying to discover what happened to a cast member who vanished during the filming of a biblical epic; Johansson played an actress who becomes pregnant while her film is in production. She also voiced Kaa in Jon Favreau’s live-action adaptation of Disney’s The Jungle Book, and Ash in the animated musical comedy film Sing (both 2016). That year she also narrated an audiobook of Lewis Carroll’s children’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Johansson learned some Russian from a former teacher on the phone for her role as Black Widow in The Avengers (2012), another entry from the MCU. The film received mainly positive reviews and broke many box office records, becoming the third highest-grossing film both in the United States and worldwide. For her performance, she was nominated for two Teen Choice Awards and three People’s Choice Awards. Later that year, Johansson portrayed actress Janet Leigh in Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock, a behind-the-scenes drama about the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho. Roger Ebert opined that despite not physically resembling Leigh, she had conveyed her spunk, intelligence, and sense of humor.
In her fourth release in 2004, the live-action animated comedy The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Johansson voiced Princess Mindy, the daughter of King Neptune. She agreed to the project because of her love of cartoons and The Ren & Stimpy Show. The film was her most commercially successful release that year. She followed it with In Good Company, a comedy-drama in which she complicates the life of her father when she dates his much younger boss. Reviews of the film were generally positive, describing it as “witty and charming”. Roger Ebert was impressed with Johansson’s portrayal, writing that she “continues to employ the gravitational pull of quiet fascination”. She would then reprise her role in the video game adaptation of the film.
Johansson played Nola, an aspiring actress who begins an affair with a married man (played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers) in Woody Allen’s drama Match Point in 2005. After replacing Kate Winslet with Johansson for the role, Allen changed the character’s nationality from British to American. An admirer of Allen’s films, Johansson liked the idea of working with him, but felt nervous her first day on the set. The New York Times was impressed with the performances of Johansson and Rhys Meyers, and Mick LaSalle stated that Johansson “is a powerhouse from the word go”, with a performance that “borders on astonishing”. The film, a box office success, earned Johansson nominations for the Golden Globe and the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress. Also that year, Johansson underwent a tonsillectomy, after which she starred with Ewan McGregor in Michael Bay’s science fiction film The Island, in dual roles as Sarah Jordan and her clone, Jordan Two Delta. Johansson found her filming schedule exhausting: she had to shoot for 14 hours a day, and she hit her head and injured herself. The film received mixed reviews and grossed $163 million against a $126 million budget.
As a child, Johansson practiced acting by staring in the mirror until she made herself cry, wanting to be Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis. At age seven, she was devastated when a talent agent signed one of her brothers instead of her, but she later decided to become an actress anyway. She enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, and began auditioning for commercials, but soon lost interest: “I didn’t want to promote Wonder Bread.” She shifted her focus to film and theater, making her first stage appearance in the Off-Broadway play Sophistry with Ethan Hawke, in which she had two lines. Around this time, she began studying at Professional Children’s School (PCS), a private educational institution for aspiring child actors in Manhattan. At age nine, Johansson made her film debut as John Ritter’s daughter in the fantasy comedy North (1994). She says that when she was on the film set, she knew intuitively what to do. Johansson later played minor roles including as the daughter of Sean Connery and Kate Capshaw’s characters in the mystery thriller Just Cause (1995), and an art student in If Lucy Fell (1996).
In January 2014, Johansson resigned from her Oxfam position after criticism of her promotion of SodaStream, whose main factory was based in Mishor Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank; Oxfam opposes all trade with such Israeli settlements. Oxfam stated that it was thankful for her contributions in raising funds to fight poverty. Together with her Avengers costars, Johansson raised $500,000 for the victims of Hurricane Maria.
In her third collaboration with Woody Allen, the romantic comedy-drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), which was filmed in Spain, Johansson plays one of the love interests of Javier Bardem’s character alongside Penélope Cruz. The film was one of Allen’s most profitable and received favorable reviews. A reviewer in Variety described Johansson as “open and malleable” compared to the other actors. She also played the femme fatale Silken Floss in The Spirit, based on the newspaper comic strip of the same name by Will Eisner. It received poor reviews from critics, who deemed it melodramatic, unoriginal, and sexist. Johansson’s only role in 2009 was as Anna Marks, a yoga instructor, in the ensemble comedy-drama He’s Just Not That into You (2009). The film was released to tepid reviews, but was a box office success.
In February 2015, Johansson formed a band called the Singles with Este Haim from HAIM, Holly Miranda, Kendra Morris, and Julia Haltigan. The group’s first single was called “Candy”. Johansson was issued a cease and desist order from the lead singer of the Los Angeles-based rock band the Singles, demanding she stop using their name. In 2016, she performed “Trust in Me” for The Jungle Book soundtrack and “Set It All Free” and “I Don’t Wanna” for Sing: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. In 2018, Johansson collaborated with Pete Yorn again for an EP titled Apart, released June 1.
Johansson publicly endorsed and supported Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s 2013 run for New York City Comptroller by hosting a series of fundraisers. To encourage people to vote in the 2016 presidential election, in which she endorsed Hillary Clinton, Johansson appeared in a commercial alongside her Marvel Cinematic Universe co-star Robert Downey Jr., and Joss Whedon. In 2017, she spoke at the Women’s March on Washington, addressing Donald Trump’s presidency and stating she would support the president if he worked for women’s rights and stopped withdrawing federal funding for Planned Parenthood. In the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, Johansson endorsed Elizabeth Warren, referring to her as “thoughtful and progressive but realistic”.
Johansson has been labeled a sex symbol by the media. The Sydney Morning Herald described her as “the embodiment of male fantasy”. Woody Allen (who directed Johansson in Match Point, Scoop, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona) commented on her attractiveness, calling her “beautiful” and “sexually overwhelming”. Journalist and critic Anthony Lane of The New Yorker wrote in 2014 that “she is evidently, and profitably, aware of her sultriness, and of how much, down to the last inch, it contributes to the contours of her reputation.” Johansson has expressed her dislike of being sexualized, and maintains that a preoccupation with one’s attractiveness does not last. She lost out on the lead role of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) because the film’s director, David Fincher, found her “too sexy” for the part.
Johansson’s first leading role was as Amanda, the younger sister of a pregnant teenager who runs away from her foster home in Manny & Lo (1996) alongside Aleksa Palladino and her brother, Hunter. Her performance received positive reviews: one written for the San Francisco Chronicle noted, “[the film] grows on you, largely because of the charm of … Scarlett Johansson,” while critic Mick LaSalle, writing for the same paper, commented on her “peaceful aura”, and believed, “If she can get through puberty with that aura undisturbed, she could become an important actress.” Johansson earned a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female for the role.
Johansson will reprise her role as Black Widow in her own upcoming solo prequel film directed by Cate Shortland, and is scheduled to be released theatrically in the United States and through Disney+ with Premier Access on July 9, 2021.
In May 2008, Johansson released her debut album Anywhere I Lay My Head, which consists of one original song and ten cover versions of Tom Waits songs, and features David Bowie and members from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Celebration. Reviews of the album were mixed. Spin was not particularly impressed with Johansson’s singing. Some critics found it to be “surprisingly alluring”, “a bravely eccentric selection”, and “a brilliant album” with “ghostly magic”. NME named the album the “23rd best album of 2008”, and it peaked at number 126 on the Billboard 200. Johansson started listening to Waits when she was 11 or 12 years old, and said of him, “His melodies are so beautiful, his voice is so distinct and I had my own way of doing Tom Waits songs.”
Johansson ranks highly in several beauty listings. Maxim included her in their Hot 100 from 2006 to 2014. She has been named “Sexiest Woman Alive” twice by Esquire (2006 and 2013), and has been included in similar listings by Playboy (2007), Men’s Health (2011), and FHM (since 2005). She was named GQ’s Babe of the Year in 2010. Madame Tussauds New York museum installed a wax sculpture of her in 2015.
As a public figure, Johansson is a prominent brand endorser and supports various charities. She has been cited as a Hollywood sex symbol by various media outlets. She has been married three times: to Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds from 2008 to 2011, French businessman Romain Dauriac, with whom she has a daughter, from 2014 to 2017, and comedian Colin Jost since 2020.
2008: Sean Faris vs. Cam Gigandet
2009: Robert Pattinson vs. Cam Gigandet
2010: Beyoncé Knowles vs. Ali Larter
2011: Robert Pattinson vs. Bryce Dallas Howard and Xavier Samuel
2012: Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson vs. Alexander Ludwig
2013: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner vs. Tom Hiddleston
2014: Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly vs. Orcs
2015: Dylan O’Brien vs. Will Poulter
2016: Ryan Reynolds vs. Ed Skrein
2018: Gal Gadot vs. German soldiers
2019: Brie Larson vs. Gemma Chan
Johansson played Black Widow in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2 (2010), a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Before she secured the role, she dyed her hair red to convince Favreau that she was right for the part, and undertook stunt and strength training to prepare for the role. Johansson said the character resonated with her, and she admired the superhero’s human traits. The film earned $623.9 million against its $200 million budget, and received generally positive reviews from critics, although reviewers criticized how her character was written. Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph and Matt Goldberg thought she had little to do but look attractive. In 2011, Johansson played the role of Kelly, a zookeeper in the family film We Bought a Zoo alongside Matt Damon. The film got mainly favorable reviews, and Anne Billson praised Johansson for bringing depth to a rather uninteresting character. Johansson earned a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress: Drama nomination for her performance.
Johansson played Motoko Kusanagi in Rupert Sanders’s 2017 film adaptation of the Ghost in the Shell franchise. The film was praised for its visual style, acting, and cinematography, but was the subject of controversy for whitewashing the cast, particularly Johansson’s character, a cyborg who was meant to hold the memories of a Japanese woman. Addressing the backlash, the actress stated she would never play a non-white character, but wanted to take the rare opportunity to star in a franchise with a female protagonist. Ghost in the Shell grossed $169.8 million worldwide against a production budget of $110 million. In March 2017, Johansson hosted Saturday Night Live for the fifth time, making her the 17th person, and the fourth woman, to enter the NBC sketch comedy’s prestigious Five-Timers Club. Johansson’s next 2017 film was the comedy Rough Night, where she played Jess Thayer, one of the five friends—alongside Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz—whose bachelorette party goes wrong after a male stripper dies. The film had a mixed critical reception and moderate box office returns. In 2018, Johansson voiced show dog Nutmeg in Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animated film Isle of Dogs, released in March, and reprised her MCU role as Black Widow in Avengers: Infinity War, which followed the next month. Johansson was due to star in Rub & Tug, a biographical film in which she would have played Dante “Tex” Gill, a transgender man who operated a massage parlor and prostitution ring in the 1970s and 1980s. She dropped out of the project following backlash over the casting of a cisgender woman to play a transgender person.
Johansson was registered as an independent, at least through 2008, and campaigned for Democratic candidate John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. She was “disappointed” when George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004.
After appearing in minor roles in Fall and Home Alone 3 (both 1997), Johansson attracted wider attention for her performance in the film The Horse Whisperer (1998), directed by Robert Redford. The drama film, based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Nicholas Evans, tells the story of a talented trainer with a gift for understanding horses, who is hired to help an injured teenager played by Johansson. The actress received an “introducing” credit on this film, although it was her seventh role. On Johansson’s maturity, Redford described her as “13 going on 30”. Todd McCarthy of Variety remarked that Johansson “convincingly conveys the awkwardness of her age and the inner pain of a carefree girl suddenly laid low by horrible happenstance”. For the film, she was nominated for the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress. She believed the film changed many things in her life, realizing that acting is the ability to manipulate one’s emotions. On finding good roles as a teenager, Johansson said it was hard for her as adults wrote the scripts and they “portray kids like mall rats and not seriously … Kids and teenagers just aren’t being portrayed with any real depth”.
In 2013, Johansson voiced the character Samantha, an intelligent computer operating system, in Spike Jonze’s film Her, replacing Samantha Morton in the role. The film premiered at the 8th Rome International Film Festival, where Johansson won Best Actress; she was also nominated for the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress. Johansson was intimidated by the role’s complexity, and found her recording sessions for the role challenging but liberating. Peter Travers believed Johansson’s voice in the film was “sweet, sexy, caring, manipulative, scary award-worthy”. Time magazine’s Richard Corliss called her performance “seductive and winning”, and Her was rated as one of the best films of 2013. She also won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 40th Saturn Awards in 2014 for her performance. Johansson was cast in the role of an alien who preys on men in Scotland in Jonathan Glazer’s science fiction film Under the Skin (2013). The project, an adaptation of Michel Faber’s novel of the same name, took nine years to complete. For the role, she learned to drive a van and speak in an English accent. Johansson improvised conversations with non-professional actors on the street, who did not know they were being filmed. It was released to generally positive reviews, with particular praise for Johansson. Erin Whitney, writing for The Huffington Post, considered it to be her finest performance to that point, and noted that it was her first fully nude role. Author Maureen Foster wrote, “How much depth, breadth, and range Johansson mines from her character’s very limited allowance of emotional response is a testament to her acting prowess that is, as the film goes on, increasingly stunning.” It earned Johansson a BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film nomination.
Johansson played a supporting role in the film Chef (2014), alongside Robert Downey, Jr., Sofía Vergara, and director Jon Favreau. It grossed over $45 million at the box office and was well received by critics. The Chicago Sun-Times writer Richard Roeper found the film “funny, quirky and insightful, with a bounty of interesting supporting characters”. In Luc Besson’s science fiction action film Lucy (2014), Johansson starred as the title character, who gains psychokinetic abilities when a nootropic drug is absorbed into her bloodstream. Besson discussed the role with several actresses, and cast Johansson based on her strong reaction to the script and her discipline. Critics generally praised the film’s themes, visuals, and Johansson’s performance; some found the plot nonsensical. IGN’s Jim Vejvoda credited the film’s success to her acting and Besson’s style. The film grossed $458 million on a budget of $40 million to become the 18th highest-grossing film of 2014.
Johansson attended PS 41, an elementary school in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Her parents divorced when she was 13. Johansson was particularly close to her maternal grandmother, Dorothy Sloan, a bookkeeper and schoolteacher; they often spent time together and Johansson considered Sloan her best friend. Interested in a career in the spotlight from an early age, she often put on song-and-dance routines for her family. She was particularly fond of musical theater and jazz hands. She took lessons in tap dance, and states that her parents were supportive of her career choice. She describes her childhood as very ordinary.
Johansson has appeared in advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, L’Oréal, and Louis Vuitton, and has represented the Spanish brand Mango since 2009. Johansson was the first Hollywood celebrity to represent a champagne producer, appearing in advertisements for Moët & Chandon. In January 2014, the Israeli company SodaStream, which makes home-carbonation products, hired Johansson as its first global brand ambassador, a relationship that commenced with a television commercial during Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014. This sparked controversy, as SodaStream at that time operated a plant in Israeli-occupied territory in the West Bank.
Johansson has criticized the media for promoting an image that causes unhealthy diets and eating disorders among women. In an essay she wrote for The Huffington Post, she encouraged people to maintain a healthy body. She appeared nude on the cover of the March 2006 issue of Vanity Fair alongside actress Keira Knightley and fully clothed fashion designer Tom Ford. This sparked some controversy, as some believed the image demonstrated that women are forced to flaunt their sexuality more often than men. In September 2011, nude photographs of Johansson hacked from her cellphone were leaked online. Following an FBI investigation, the hacker was arrested, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Johansson said the pictures had been sent to her then-husband, Ryan Reynolds, three years before the incident. In 2014, Johansson successfully sued French publisher JC Lattès over defamatory statements about her relationships in the novel The First Thing We Look At by Grégoire Delacourt. Johansson was awarded $3,400; she had claimed $68,000.
Scarlett Ingrid Johansson (/dʒoʊˈhænsən/; born November 22, 1984) is an American actress and singer. She was the world’s highest-paid actress in 2018 and 2019, and has featured multiple times on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list. Her films have grossed over $14.3 billion worldwide, making Johansson the highest-grossing actress and ninth-highest-grossing box office star of all time. She is the recipient of several accolades, including a Tony Award and a BAFTA Award, as well as nominations for two Academy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards.
1996: Adam Sandler vs. Bob Barker
1997: Fairuza Balk vs. Robin Tunney
1998: Will Smith vs. Cockroach
1999: Ben Stiller vs. Puffy the Dog
2000: Keanu Reeves vs. Laurence Fishburne
2001: Zhang Ziyi vs. Entire bar
2002: Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker vs. Hong Kong gang
2003: Yoda vs. Christopher Lee
2004: Uma Thurman vs. Chiaki Kuriyama
2005: Uma Thurman vs. Daryl Hannah
2006: Angelina Jolie vs. Brad Pitt
2007: Gerard Butler vs. Robert Maillet
In 2006, Johansson sang the track “Summertime” for Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars, a non-profit collection of songs recorded by Hollywood actors. She performed with the Jesus and Mary Chain for a Coachella reunion show in Indio, California, in April 2007. The following year, Johansson appeared as the leading lady in Justin Timberlake’s music video, for “What Goes Around… Comes Around”, which was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year.
Johansson transitioned from teen to adult roles with two films in 2003: the romantic comedy-drama Lost in Translation and the drama Girl with a Pearl Earring. In the former, directed by Sofia Coppola, she plays Charlotte, a listless and lonely young wife, opposite Bill Murray. Coppola had first noticed Johansson in Manny & Lo, and compared her to a young Lauren Bacall; Coppola based the film’s story on the relationship between Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946). Johansson found the experience of working with a female director different because of Coppola’s ability to empathize with her. Made on a budget of $4 million, the film grossed $119 million at the box office and received critical acclaim. Roger Ebert was pleased with the film and described the lead actors’ performances as “wonderful”, and Entertainment Weekly wrote of Johansson’s “embracing, restful serenity”. The New York Times praised Johansson, aged 17 at the time of filming, for playing an older character.
Johansson later appeared in My Brother the Pig (1999) and in the neo-noir, Coen brothers film The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001). Her breakthrough came playing a cynical outcast in Terry Zwigoff’s black comedy Ghost World (2001), an adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel of the same name. Johansson auditioned for the film via a tape from New York, and Zwigoff believed her to be “a unique, eccentric person, and right for that part”. The film premiered at the 2001 Seattle International Film Festival; it was a box office failure, but has since developed a cult status. Johansson was credited with “sensitivity and talent belie her age” by an Austin Chronicle critic, and won a Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. Johansson also starred in An American Rhapsody, based on the true story of the director, Éva Gárdos and released later in 2001.
In December 2020, three members of the Egyptian civil rights organization EIPR were released from prison in Egypt, after Johansson had described their detention circumstances and demanded the trio’s release.
Born: Scarlett Ingrid Johansson (1984-11-22) November 22, 1984 (age 36)New York City, U.S.
Citizenship: United StatesDenmark
Education: Professional Children’s School
Years active: 1994–present
Works: Full list
Spouse(s): Ryan Reynolds
(m. 2008; div. 2011)Romain Dauriac
(m. 2014; div. 2017)Colin Jost (m. 2020)
Relatives: Ejner Johansson (grandfather)
Awards: Full list
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