By Fred Topel | Image property of Paramount Pictures
Iron Man 2
Scarlett Johansson joins the cast of Iron Man in the sequel as Natalie Rushman, who becomes S.H.I.E.L.D agent Black Widow in a sexy black spandex suit for ass kicking. You’ll see more of her in The Avengers, but Iron Man 2 sets up Rushman’s brains as well as her power.
Scarlett Johansson Talks Iron Man 2
“I’ve never really seen this kind of film of this genre where the female characters’ sex appeal sort of came second,” Johansson said. “Of course they’re sexy characters. When you have a sexy secretary or a girl swinging around by her ankles in a cat suit, that’s innately sexy. But the fact is these characters are intelligent, they’re ambitious, they’re motivated and calculated to some degree.”
An actor of Johansson’s caliber needed that sort of depth to be attracted to the role. “To be just a pawn in a story of a whole bunch of men kind of fighting it out and rolling around and getting down and dirty and there you are to be the vision in a tight cat suit is a boring thing to me. I think Jon [Favreau] made that really clear in the beginning that he felt, as far as Black Widow was concerned or that Natalie was concerned, she was mysterious and nuanced and something to peel back the layers to and that there was something there. He wanted that.”
It took a while for audiences to accept action heroines. Now maybe they’re ready for the complete package. “I think that’s why this film is so much more dynamic for me as an audience member. I’ve never been a huge fan of this genre really and I think because it was always sort of one note and very kind of explosive, I think because Gwyneth and I are able to sort of be the brains behind the operation in some aspect, there’s kind of a happy medium there. It kind of adds to the charm, to the charisma of the finished product.”
It’s not all new Hollywood though. Johansson has some classical references for Natalie Rushman. “It’s awfully kind of old fashioned actually in the best sense of the word. There’s sort of that these characters are like those fabulous femme fatales of the golden age of Hollywood, that Bette Davis more than the Jayne Mansfield which I think is so much more dynamic to watch.”