During a guest visit on the Table for Two podcast, Scarlett Johansson opened out on being typecast in the entertainment industry.
The Tony-winning actress opened up about what it was like to endure a “weird fever dream” during the production of Girl with a Pearl Earring and Lost in Translation when she was a teenager. “It sort of was my transition into my adult career,” she said, adding that she had “a really hard time doing Lost in Translation.”
“I kind of became like an ingénue, sort of, and I just think that’s part of—young girls like that are really objectified, and that’s just a fact,” the Black Widow star continued. “I did Lost in Translation and Girl with the Pearl Earring and by that point, I was 18, 19, and I was coming into my own womanhood and learning my own desirability and sexuality. I think it was because of that trajectory I had been sort of launched towards, I really got stuck.”
Johansson reflected on the beginning of her career and remarked, “I was kind of being groomed, in a way, to be this what you call a bombshell type of actor.” When it came to “playing the other woman and the object of desire,” she felt “cornered in this place, like I couldn’t get out of it.”
She talked about the appeal of accepting the kinds of parts that were being offered to her. “It would be easy to sit across from someone in that situation and go, ‘This is working, why change it?'” she said. “But for that kind of bombshell, you know, that burns bright and quick and then it’s done and you don’t have opportunity beyond that.”
Even Johansson’s Black Widow part in “Iron Man 2” was initially intended to be “underdeveloped and over-sexualized,” she reminded the audience. The actor collaborated with filmmaker Jon Favreau and Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige to reimagine the character in a more forward-thinking way. Johansson admitted earlier this year that she believed her career was over because of the incessant “hyper-sexualization” she experienced in Hollywood.
In an interview with Dax Shepard on the Armchair Expert podcast, Johansson has discussed feeling “hypersexualized” and “objectified.” “I kind of became objectified and pigeonholed in this way where I felt like I wasn’t getting offers for work for things that I wanted to do,” she said at the time. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘I think people think I’m 40 years old.’ It somehow stopped being something that was desirable and something that I was fighting against.”
She added, “I felt like [my career] was over. It was like, ‘That’s the kind of career you have, these are the roles you’ve played.’ And I was like, ‘This is it?'”