If you were to track Scarlett Johansson’s career from the very beginning, it almost seems strange that she would spend so much of her on-screen time delivering ass-kickings, whether as Black Widow for Marvel or as Lucy for director Luc Besson. But to hear the actress explain it, as far as she’s concerned, the less dialogue, the better.
“I actually prefer films where I have as little dialogue as possible, because then I have greater freedom to interpret my performance,” she admitted to London’s DailyMail. “So I would love to do a silent film—that would be wonderful. I think the reason I enjoyed making films like Girl With A Pearl Earring and, more recently, Under the Skin—where the dialogue is pretty minimal—is because they give me an opportunity to use a kind of nuance that just comes from the expressions in your eyes.”
In that same interview, she pointed out that if an actor has the intention of outgrowing a stereotype the media has placed them into, the solution is to take on a diversity of roles. Brad Pitt, she said, is a good example of that, choosing to ignore the constant praise for his looks and focusing on being a strong character actor.
“There is nothing wrong with an acting carer in which you play the romantic lead or America’s sweetheart or the romantic comedy queen,” she noted, “but I have never thought of myself as playing those kinds of roles. I have always wanted to be a character actor.”
Which might raise the question of why she’s played Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanoff) in no less than five times, with a sixth appearance to take place in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War.
“I’ve always had the same principle for choosing roles, which is to try and make movies that I would pay to see,” Scarlett told DailyActor. “As I get older, that’s meant different things. I’ve never been a superhero-comic fan exactly. I did Iron Man 2 because I loved what [the director Jon] Favreau did with Iron Man. It spoke to me as someone who was not a fan of that genre, and I saw a future in building a character with Marvel. The idea of doing a franchise was exciting—being able to play a character over many installments, the challenge of playing a character who had a built-in fan base, and trying to put my stamp on that character.”
Well, there's no denying that that stamp has stuck. Over the past 23 years, Scarlett has starred in a wide variety of films, giving fans the opportunity to watch her literally grow up before their eyes. What follows, then, is FHM’s guide to all all of them.