Has it really been over 10 years since Scarlett Johansson first played Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow in 2010’s Iron Man 2? Yeah, it absolutely has, and in a new interview the actress talks about the unique challenges she faced when she was first cast way back then. Apparently, just about everyone involved — including Johansson — was pretty unprepared.
Scarlett Johansson talked about her experience with Vanity Fair, saying that the physical demands of the role made her very much a fish out of water. “I was, I don’t know, 23 or 24 when I was cast in Iron Man 2,” Johansson recalls. “I had never stepped foot in a gym, and I had five weeks to prepare myself for these huge stunt sequences.” It wasn’t just Johansson’s lack of physical preparation that made it a challenge however. She said that apparently the Marvel team overall was still finding its footing. “It was before we kind of figured out how to be most efficient in the process of shooting stunt work—what could be handed off to other stunt people and what the actor would practically need to know. So I was doing these huge choreographed sequences and I had no previous experience with any of that stuff.”
The physical work she needed to complete in order to become Black Widow necessitated what Scarlett Johansson calls an immediate “massive lifestyle change.” That change was in large part helped along by trainer Bobby Strom, who at the time was already working with Ryan Reynolds — Johansson’s husband between 2008 and 2010. In spite of a challenging and abrupt transition, Johansson doesn’t seem to regret taking the role. She says that her physical fitness has since become an integral part of her mental health, giving her plenty of reasons to continue with a regular regimen even though she’s no longer going to play Natasha Romanoff.
Scarlett Johansson made her final appearance as Natasha Romanoff in the character’s only solo film. Set during the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Johansson’s solo outing introduced us to a new cast of characters close to her own, most memorably Florence Pugh as her adoptive sister Yelena and David Harbour as Red Guardian. Since Natasha sacrifices herself to stop Thanos in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, Johansson won’t be returning to the role, but apparently that doesn’t mean she’s said goodbye to the MCU.
In December, Scarlett Johansson opened up to Collider about returning to Marvel in a producing capacity. She spoke lovingly of the potential continuing with the MCU, “It’s like a creative playground that’s just like a dream. Again, I have that shorthand with my fellow creatives there that comes from being in the world for 10 years with those guys.”
Considering Scarlett Johansson’s recent history with Disney, who owns Marvel, the MCU must truly be a great place to work if she’s willing to go back. Not long after the simultaneous release of Black Widow in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access, the actress sued Disney. Her lawyers argued that Disney had failed to renegotiate their deal with her after the decision to simultaneously release on streaming was made, and accused the studio of using it to artificially depress ticket sales — thus allegedly cheating Scarlett Johansson out of bonuses dependent on ticket sales. As predicted by most observers, the case was settled out of court, but it raised a lot of important questions in this new era of streaming.