Scarlett Johansson Dishes On Top Chef And Porn

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1Photo: REX USA/MediaPunch Inc
No young actress has made quite as many smart decisions as Scarlett Johansson. She worked with the legendary Rob Reiner on her first movie, and she followed that up with the Coen Brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, and a pair of movies with the legendary Woody Allen. Now, she’s grown into the kind of woman who can wear Black Widow’s skin-tight getup one day and then get a Tony nomination the next — adaptable is the world you're looking for here. But, while she's got major star power, her Hollywood tendencies end there. As it turns out, she's a pretty normal gal who just likes to curl up on the couch with a good meal and even better reality TV. Now, that's our kind of woman.

In Don Jon you play the seductive girlfriend of a porn addict. What was that like?
"I loved the sweetness of Barbara. Like her, I grew up with young people like them, well educated, perfect. They are a very determined group of New Jerseyites. In fact, I refer to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, actor and director of the film, helping to shape the character."

What do you think of porn addiction?
"In the film it is the element that destroys the relationship. Pornography can be degrading or can be sexually liberating, if you know to use it and it is made from an artistic point of view. But, Don Jon is not a film about pornography, it is a social criticism against consumerism."

You have the Captain America sequel coming, too, right?
"Yes. This film is in real time. It's been two years since [the characters] appeared, and now both are agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fighting in the streets. We are not superheroes flying side by side. They help each other because we are fighting in a similar way. It’s a working relationship."

How far will your friendship go?
"By a series of unfortunate encounters, they will be in a situation in which their friendship becomes more intimate. They share many similarities because they live on the defensive without relying on anyone. Also, the two have been working for the government throughout their professional careers. With their friendship they begin to question what they want and what is their true identity."

Latex is horrifically unforgiving.
"It is a big commitment. When you wear it you are well aware that with latex you leave no doubt. My physical preparation with the costume was painful. Until you get used to it, everything hurts and is horrible. Once you learn the choreography you really feel like a superhero, but until you get to that point it’s exhausting."

But, you gotta love the Black Widow...
"I love it. I think it is a sensational character. It is a professional, highly skilled, dangerous, mysterious superhero. I love playing it. I think that it is rare to find a woman sexy and intelligent on the big screen, able to fight anyone (including men) and overcome them physically and emotionally, and my character does it."

Your character is the lone female voice in the world of superheroes.
"The majority of the superhero movies have not been very good. They were simply not made well. They were [about] spinning through the air and putting your hands on your hips. With the Black Widow we do something more, although of course the physicality and her image is important. To me, this character has given me a great opportunity. Joss [Whedon, director] has jumped the fence with Avengers to celebrate a female character that is not a simple ornament inside the group. He’s not interested in just selling her physical attractiveness."

You also have Under the Skin coming, in which you appear naked. Is that difficult to get comfortable with?
"Yes, I’m not fond of nudism. Like everyone, I am aware of my body and in this film I put aside prejudices to get into the skin of an alien. I had the collaboration of an artist, as director Jonathan Glazer protected me at all times. The nudity in this film is not exploitative."

There’s a loss of privacy that comes with it. But, isn’t that also a consequence of fame?
"I feel incredibly fortunate at having achieved success and am not going to complain about the fame. I love what I do and my film projects fill me as an artist. Everything else, fame and the invasion of privacy, is a headache. I have many friends who do not have work, that do not get anything on TV, or in ads, or voiceover, so to complain about my loss of anonymity is a little silly. If fame is a nightmare, I know that it is difficult for the public to identify with me because it sounds ridiculous to complain about it. Believe me when I say that fame can be a drag."

Does living in Manhattan afford you peace and privacy?
"Yes. In New York I can walk everywhere and no one ever bothers me. People in New York, when they see a celebrity, they look, shrug their shoulders, and continue on. I live a relatively normal life, ride the subway, going to the grocery store, walk down the street. I don't live in hotels, or get bodyguards. And, if ever I have a problem, I just jump in a taxi."

What’s a normal day for you?
"Like everyone, I have a regular schedule. I go to the gym, meet friends for lunch, cook dinner, go shopping. I like to sit on the sofa in my house with my dog and watch Top Chef. Also, medical programs like Trauma: Life in the ER."

We know that you love cooking — is there anything around the house you don't like?
"I love cooking. During Avengers, as I had to keep my diet, I cooked my own food. Cleaning I don't like, I don't like cleaning anything, or ironing."

Do you follow fashion trends?
"I like shopping, but I do not follow the trends of the moment. I'm not a fashion victim. I try to wink at the golden age of Hollywood and at a film premiere I sometimes take inspiration from an actress of that era. I don’t copy anyone if it’s not suited to my own life."