In “Iron Man 2,” “The Avengers,” and next spring’s “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” Scarlett Johansson has exhibited (and will exhibit) her ability to kick, punch, and head-butt with the best of them. And now she’s going to get to use those skills again, after just having signed on to Luc Besson’s forthcoming thriller “Lucy,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The ludicrously amazing (or is it amazingly ludicrous?) plot of “Lucy” involves Johansson’s character having to become a drug mule for some nefarious types. But instead of transporting the drug, it goes into her system and basically turns her into Bradley Cooper from “Limitless” –- according to the report she can “absorb knowledge instantaneously, is able to move objects with her mind and can’t feel pain and other discomforts.” Presumably she uses these new abilities to get back at the guys who forced her into the drug mule business.
Besson will write and direct, as well as produce through his Europa Corp shingle. In recent years, Besson, once known for his highbrow genre fare like “The Professional” and more earnest stabs at historical dramas like “The Messenger” and 2011′s sorely underrated “The Lady,” has largely moved away from directing and instead writes and produces a whole squadron of critically crummy low-budget genre movies.
The man who made the art house hit “Le Femme Nikita” has, in his capacity as the Euro-version Roger Corman, has made three “Transformer” movies, two “Taken” films, two Jet Li kung-fu movies, two parkour-based thrillers, and whatever “Colombiana” and “Lockout” turned out to be. Later this year, he has the somewhat promising mob movie “Malavita” opening, which he both wrote and directed, and stars Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, and Michelle Pfieffer.
Johansson, for her part, will appear later this year in Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directorial debut “Don Jon” and (god willing) will be seen in Jonathan Glazer’s long-gestating sci-fi sex movie “Under the Skin.” She’ll start in on “Lucy” after her commitments on “Captain America: Winter Soldier” are complete.
At 1:45 a.m. on a Friday in January, dozens of stylish, attractive revelers began pouring into Manhattan nightclub No. 8 for the opening-night cast party for the latest Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starring Scarlett Johansson as the smoldering, sexually frustrated feline Maggie. The actress arrived in a black peplum top, tight black leggings, bright red lipstick, and perfect skin, bringing to mind Sandy after her transformation in Grease. Standing by the bar, she kissed her new boyfriend, 30-year-old French creative agency manager Romain Dauriac, whispering in his ear and throwing her head back laughing. Pretty soon, everyone — her two brothers; her sister-in-law; actor Benjamin Walker (who plays Maggie’s alcoholic, sexually repressed husband) and his wife, Mamie Gummer — caught her good vibe and spilled onto the dance floor. Johansson started boogying backward toward me, inching closer to a table covered with champagne flutes. I reached down to move the table, creating a pocket of space for Johansson, who safely lingered there until shimmying out of harm’s way. I figured I would spend the rest of my life wondering if she had been trying to include me.
“Well, not if you were behind me,” she tells me a month later a Greenwich Village loft. “But we like to include everyone in a good party. That night was super-fun. I’ve never been the person who sits in the corner, orders bottle service, and judges everybody. The next day my boyfriend and I were saying, ‘We were the best dancers in the whole world last night!’” She clarifies both were “completely delusional” to think that way: “I’m sure we were absolutely, like, ridiculous together.”
This morning Johansson, 28, woke at 9 a.m., worked out with a trainer, and now feels tired after her brothers (twin Hunter and Adrian, 36) dropped by her midtown penthouse unannounced the previous night. “They’re just gross — oh, they’re just awful!” she says, laughing. “They’re just sitting on the couch, eating all my food. We gossip about family and watch stupid TV shows. But I treasure the time I get to spend with them.” Wearing a plum snowflake-patterned sweater, burgundy pants (“vintage-y, old, crummy, dirty things”), and her favorite No. 6 clogs, she comes across as a bright, fetching graduate student, not a megastar with 37 movies to her name.
Besides making movies and records (her Tom Waits cover album features two duets with David Bowie), her other commitments include being the face of Dolce & Gabbana Beauty; a global ambassador for international relief agency Oxfam; and a political activist (she was a fundraiser for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, now running for comptroller, and campaigned for both of Barack Obama’s presidential bids). Had Johansson come up in a game of word association, I might have said Ghost World, Lost in Translation, and trio of movies she made with Woody Allen.
“Everything good,” Allen says at the mention of her name. “I was enchanted with her the minute I met her, and I’ve never stopped. She’s great-looking, sexy, funny, a good dramatic actress, she can sing. I mean, she’s got it all, really.” The two keep in touch with sarcastic e-mails and lunch whenever possible. She wants him to write a Citizen Kane or Sunset Boulevard for her. “I always said that I’m going to wind up like Erich von Stroheim in Sunset Boulevard,” Allen says. “She was going to wind up the aged movie actress who everyone was in love with, and I was going to end up the director who once directed her, now her chauffeur. Anytime I have an idea, if there’s anything that she could play in it, she’s always my first option. I’d love to come up with a tremendous vehicle just for her.”
Johansson began acting in second grade, in an Off-Broadway play called Sophistry. Her breakout performance came at age 13, when she stole The Horse Whisperer from the A-list cast, three of them Oscar winners. For the past decade she hasn’t been typecast as an ingenue or a sex symbol, yet that perception persists. “She just can’t help it,” Allen says. “Her beauty and sexuality are so overwhelming — it’s a far, far bigger plus in her life than the little penalty she has to pay . . . yeah, she is God’s answer to Job.”
A major career transition for Johansson is under way. There’s her onstage work (she won the best actress Tony Award for her first Broadway role in 2010′s A View From the Bridge) and the Truman Capote debut novel, Summer Crossing, that she has adapted for the big screen and plans to direct next year. She doesn’t intend on forever playing Black Widow in comic-book blockbusters (Iron Man 2, The Avengers, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which began filming last month), but she would like to balance commercial roles with thought-provoking projects like Under the Skin, based on the Michel Faber novel in which her alien character delivers hitchhikers to a grisly fate. “In The Avengers, a lot of the characters are quite deep and flawed,” she says. “Not that it will make grown men cry.”
Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, first met Johansson when they costarred in the 2004 teen heist movie The Perfect Score. “She is who she is, and she is unapologetic,” he says. “When you’re around her, you feel an honesty that brings out the honesty in you. She has an old soul. I’m a few years older than she is, but I still feel like her younger brother. To this day, she still seems a little more wordily and intelligent than most people in the room.” Evans says that if you were going on a caravan road trip, you would want Johansson in your car: “She’s very spontaneous, and she can make something fun out of nothing. Anything that seems interesting or adventurous, she’ll go for it — and her willingness breeds a kind of allegiance. Before you know it, you’re having a good time when you didn’t even know you could.”
An example of her spontaneity, for which Evans apologizes to Johansson for revealing (“I’m going to tell it anyway! Because it is who Scarlett is”): While they were in Ohio filming The Avengers, they went to a bar. “We get a couple beers, and Scarlett says, ‘We should get onstage and sing a song!’ And this is the type of balls that Scarlett has: She walks up to the band, asks if they know ‘Rocky Raccoon,’ and she sings it — flawlessly, mind you — to about 15 people sucking down beers in some dive bar in Cleveland. It was surreal. It was phenomenal. It was hysterical.”
With the first weekend of the Sundance Film Festival behind us, the mecca of independent film segues into phase two: the buying frenzy. While new films will continue to roll out and amass buzz, ones that hit earlier in the week are already being chased by movie studios looking for the next breakout hit. In the first wave of hits, Sundance’s big winner is none other than veteran Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Deadline reports that Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, Don Jon’s Addiction, has been picked up for release by Relativity Media (American Reunion, this weekend’s Movie 43) for an unprecedented $4 million, an additional $25 million commitment to marketing the movie, and a promise of 2,000 screen release planned for this summer. That’s a lot of dough for a little indie comedy, but Gordon-Levitt’s film isn’t exactly Little Miss Sunshine. Instead, the Dark Knight Rises actor delivered a raunchy romantic comedy that goes the extra mile to shock.
Scarlett Johansson, 28, as famous for her gorgeous, sexy looks as for her movie roles, recently shared a few of her favorite Yuletide memories with Us Weekly.
“The most memorable Christmas present I ever received was when I was 8 years old. I really wanted a pet lizard for Christmas, and my parents said, ‘No.’ When Christmas Eve came around, my mom and dad led me into their bedroom and the lights were off except a glowing terrarium with my new lizard inside. I was so excited! I had him for eight years,” says the actress, who is now the brand ambassador for Dolce & Gabbana makeup and fragrance.
Nowadays, Johansson is into animals that are a bit cuddlier. “I always ask my friends and family to buy a gift from Oxfam Unwrapped,” explains the Avengers star, who is also an ambassador for Oxfam. “Purchasing an alpaca or a goat or a farm essentials kit…are totally unique gifts that remind us that giving is receiving.”
The bombshell, who was recently spotted kissing French journalist Romain Dauriac after a year-long relationship with advertising exec Nate Taylor ended in October, revealed her fail-proof way to get party-ready: “I love to make my eyes really pop for New Year’s.” Her other go-to beauty products: Dolce & Gabbana’s Perfect Luminous Liquid Foundation, $59; SK-II LXP Ultimate Revival Cream, $350; and Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray, $7 for 4 oz.
Scarlett Johansson has been practicing her French kissing this week – kissing her new French boyfriend, that is!
The actress, 28, who recently broke up with adman Nate Naylor, was photographed while engaged in a little PDA with Romain Dauriac, a journalist, after leaving their New York hotel.
Johansson and Dauriac have been seeing quite a bit of each other in recent weeks. He joined her at the New York premiere of her new film, Hitchcock, on Nov. 18. They were also spotted dining at the Beatrice Inn in Manhattan’s West Village.
Last Sunday, they caught a performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at City Center.
Dauriac has edited a street-savvy art magazine called Clark. For her part, Johansson has been into French culture for a while. Last year she recorded a song with the son of the iconic French singer Serge Gainsbourg. She also premiered her last album in France.
Before filming the role of Janet Leigh in Hitchcock, Sacha Gervasi’s film about the making of the 1960 horror classic Psycho, Scarlett Johansson says she spoke with the Hollywood legend’s daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis.
“I just think, more than anything, it must be very strange to have somebody play your mother — and especially someone as beloved and celebrated as Janet,” Johansson said Tuesday in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today. “And I just wanted to reach out — and Jamie was lovely. She sent beautiful photographs and gave me some wonderful stories.”
Curtis, for her part, has praised Johansson for capturing Leigh’s sweet-natured personality. “She was treating this with a lot of gravitas,” Curtis told CNN last week. “She was taking this very seriously, and she wanted us to know that.”
Responding to Curtis’ feedback, Johansson observed: “As an actor, it’s the most rewarding thing you could hear. … Janet, first and foremost, was a loving, loving mother and wife, and she reiterated that.”
As for the famous Psycho shower scene, with that instantly recognizable soundtrack, Johansson said re-enacting the filming of that moment was all the more authentic with Anthony Hopkins (as Alfred Hitchcock) in the picture.
“You kind of make it your own, you sort of wing it,” she said. “I think when you have Tony Hopkins there, stabbing at you, with a completely frenzied, psychotic look on his face, you don’t need that kind of music. It sort of puts you right there.”
In her Today sit-down, Johansson also faced probing questions from Lauer on the subject of her latest tattoo: a horseshoe with the words “Lucky You” inked on her ribcage. A photo of the design became public when Johansson’s tattoo artist shared it with friends — Lauer, in turn, shared it with Today’s viewers.
“Some photos, as I’m sure you might know yourself, are meant for personal consumption,” said Johansson, gently admonishing the morning-show host.
Sources confirm to PEOPLE that Scarlett Johansson and her boyfriend of about year, Nate Naylor, have gone their separate ways.
“She broke up with him last week,” one source who knows both parties tells PEOPLE. “He’s pretty upset but the writing was on the wall. A lot of people were surprised it lasted this long.”
Johansson’s rep is not commenting.
The actress, 27, was first spotted with the New York-based advertising executive back in January strolling the streets of the Big Apple holding hands.
In August, they were seen arm-in-arm walking through Paris, though rumors of troubles flared when Johansson was photographed sunbathing in a bikini with her bodyguard on a yacht off the coast of Italy.
The Avengers star, who split from Ryan Reynolds in December 2010 after a two-year marriage, told Vogue last April she’s focused on enjoying her work and life.
“It’s just been a good time. I’ve had peace. Relative peace,” she said at the time. “I just want to work on things that are really hard and when I’m not working on things that are really hard, I want to hang out with people I like to be with and that’s it.”
Years in the making and still one of the biggest risks Hollywood has ever taken, The Avengers wowed audiences, critics and business-minded folk alike when it climbed its way to a massive box office total upwards of $617 million (with nearly $1.5 in worldwide earnings). Sequel talk was inevitable, but with a full slate of “Wave 2″ films announced at Comic-Con, a timeline for when an Avengers 2 could hit theaters was murky at best.
It looks like a skintight cat suit is a good omen for Scarlett Johansson’s bank account.
The New York Post reported today that ScarJo has been offered a whopping $20 million to reprise her role as Black Widow from Iron Man 2 and this summer’s The Avengers. In the flicks, she plays sexy former Russian spy Natasha Romanoff, who is adept at eliciting information from enemy forces and wriggling out of dangerous situations.
The paycheck places Scarlett with the most elite of Tinseltown’s highest earners. Angelina Jolie reportedly snagged $19 million for The Tourist, while Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts have all hovered around the $15 million-$20 million/per film mark for the past few years.
While she has compared her sultry Black Widow jumpsuit to “sweaty pajamas” she had no complaints about working with an all-male cast and playing an icy character.
“I’m the only female Avenger and I thought it was fabulous! I have no complaints,” she told to Jay Leno in May. “Black Widow is an assassin and a warrior, and she really doesn’t have time for love and all that fluffy stuff, and I like that aspect of her. I like playing with the boys that way. It’s fun,” Scarlett added before quickly backtracking: “Not like that! You know what I mean.”
The Avengers has so far brought in $1.355 billion in box office. No release date has been set for a follow-up.