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Scarlett Johansson on Separating Celebrity and Acting

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In recent roles in movies like Her and Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson has made a concentrated effort to not appear as “Scarlett Johansson” (and in the case of Her, she didn’t appear at all). It’s difficult for an actress of her notoriety (and beauty) to disappear into a role when executives want to put that famous face on posters and other marketing material. In a recent interview with Vulture, Johansson spoke at length on how she answers the challenge of finding opportunities to sink into roles.

Regarding fighting against the perception that it’s tough for her not to be “Scarlett Johansson” on screen, she says, “I guess I’m unaware of it. It’s something that you see because it’s a part of this overexposure that we experience in celebrity culture and the 24-hour news feed that we’re on. Still, I guess there’s not much you can do about that. It’s there and there’s no sense in fighting against that. I’m sure one way to work against that is to understand your own habits and try to get rid of them. If you understand them, then you’ll recognize them when you’re doing them. You can catch yourself when you fall back on the things that make you comfortable. It’s a lot of work to get rid of those little tics. Yet part of those little tics are why we like specific actors individually, because they’ve got that little thing. We warm to the things that we recognize in them. But they can hinder the audience’s ability to just fall right into the story. I probably should continue to work more on that too. And I do. I’m aware of it. It’s an actor’s work to do that. But the other part of that, there’s nothing you can do. That’s just there.”

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