There's little doubt that in the testosterone-fest that the Avengers might have been in danger of becoming, there needed to be some equality in the gender department. Scarlett Johansson has consistenly proven herself as a versatile actress, more than capable of bringing the nuance, emotion and the undeniable sexiness to the roles she plays. After all, hers is a resume that includes such diverse projects as Lost in Translation, The Spirit, Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Prestige and even provided a voice for the Robot Chicken Tv series). After a supporting role in the Iron Man sequel, the character of Black Widow moves much more into the main spotlight in the Avengers. The spy may not have the super-powers of some of her colleagues, but her espionage credentials, interrogation techniques and athletic abilities allow her to hold her own and play a pivotal role. That required a lot of hard work and prep in advance of filming...
“Yeah, surely... you are training and doing all that stuff and stunt-work and eating a lot of green things… (laughs). I think that me, (Jeremy) Renner and Tom (Hiddleston) probably spent the most amount of time in the stunt-gym… just because we have these huge choreographed sequences that are… intense. I’m happy to do that," she explains. "We have such an amazing stunt-team and a lot of them came off Iron Man 2 and we spent so much time in there that I kinda built a family with those guys. It’s great fun to do. As characters and as actors, we all have our burdens to bare, but they paid off in the end, right?
But Scarlett does want to point out that feels the gender agenda wasn't at work in the Avengers and that it was important to both her and Whedon that her character shouldn't be there as any kind of adornment - that Black Widow was a viable and deserved member of the team.
“When we all first met Joss, he met with each of us individually and talked about what we wanted to see from our characters. We did talk about my character’s plight and her dark past and all those things. He never said anything about my character’s gender. That’s a perfect example of Joss and how he is gender-blind. He wants his female characters to be dynamic and competitive and assured and confident and that has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that he celebrates those kind of strong, female characters. He’s just a charming fellow that way…” she explains.
She was equally happy to play a character that has to fall back on their own skills instead of flying shields, soaring hammers and gamma-irradiated strength..
“Jeremy and I decided we wouldn’t want any super-powers… we’d rather be skilled because maybe the super-powers would disappear and that wouldn’t be good," she decides pragmatically.
There's already talk of a possible spin-off, a solo-outing for Scarlett's Widow, or possibly teamed with Renner's Hawkeye. Time will tell, but on the strength of this outing, Johnasson's performance is clearly good enough to require no translation.
Avengers Assemble (12A) is released by Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios in 2D and 3D formats on Thursday in the UK