Scarlett Johansson Talks ‘The Avengers’ Training and Taking a Crash Course in Russian

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Scarlett-johansson-the-avengers-black-widowAs we already covered, Scarlett Johansson found the Black Widow costume in The Avengers to be rather uncomfortable.  I almost feel bad for Johansson, since in this follow-up interview with Reuters she continues to elaborate on some of the more annoying aspects of the production.

Since the Black Widow is a kick-ass S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Johansson had to learn particular fighting skills — which were easier to learn than to implement on set.  She explains, “We incorporated this Wushu style (of fighting) when the Widow wields a huge alien gun. That was new and really challenging. I had to learn how to spin it and move it. It was hard because I’d hit myself with it all the time. And it’s heavy. You learn (by using) a broom handle so you’re like, ‘Ah, I got it down, I’ve mastered it.’ Then all of a sudden they’re like, ‘Here’s the prop’ and you’re like, ‘What? This thing is 20 lbs!’ I was so terribly battered. I’d wake up every day in agony but it was a continuous thing, so it became normal (laughs).”

Another difficulty was learning another language.  The Black Widow is Russian and the character had to speak in her native language at some point in the movie, which was another challenge for Johansson.  She explains, “I had two days, so I had to learn it phonetically. I knew what I was saying but I had to be able to pronounce it and breathe some life into the lines so that it didn’t sound like I was repeating some Berlitz tape. We hired this great Russian translator, and she worked with the dialogue coach. She was really expressive, which helped, so my mouth found the words in a way that didn’t just sound like I was a parrot.”

With all those problems, it’s a wonder if Johansson liked anything about her Black Widow role.  But she admits besides the enjoyment of making the movie she loved her dyed red hair, saying, “It’s nice because it allows me to go a bit under the radar – people don’t expect me to have that color of hair. I’m always happy when I do it because it’s the first step of the process of finding the character again. To me more than anything, the hair color represents a huge piece of work that we dive head first into. And I’m really happy when I can wash it out because then I’m like, ‘Yes, It’s finished, we actually did it!’ Out it goes and you know you’ve accomplished something.”

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About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...) For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

1 Comment

  1. Black Russian Actor on

    She is hot as well as smart, big fan of her movies especially her smile. It’s good thing that actress are taking these job seriously.

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