Is Scarlett Johansson in danger of becoming the female Johnny Depp? I mean this in a good way. In terms of picking her roles she’s moving away from blockbusters; or at least moving towards slightly more leftfield choices that seem to push her boundaries. Perhaps actively seeking to distance her glamorous image as one of Hollywood’s most attractive actors? (Incidentally, this is something Depp has been doing for years.)
Looking back, Lost In Translation was the film that got me hooked on all things Johansson. Loneliness, connection in a big foreign city. Her performance emphatically spoke to me. There was a beautiful vulnerability and purity to her; something which, I’d argue, she’s managed to hang onto throughout her career.
She’s smart in her choice of directors too, having worked with some of the best out there: Woody Allen three times (Match Point, Scoop and Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Brian de Palma (The Black Dahlia) and Christopher Nolan (The Prestige).
And she’s mixed things up with up-and-coming indie types, auteurs and wildcard mavericks too: Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation ), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon), Spike Jonze (Her) and Jonathan Glazer (Under The Skin, this one out soon, see the trailer below).
The final film I mentioned could represent a real shift in the way in which people view her as an actress. She’s still got the big blockbusters ticking along, but this sort of film could really open the door for her to get stuck into some meaty roles.
Much in the way Matthew McConaughey was typecast as the sexy – and often somewhat shallow – lead for years. Until he had had enough and his McRenaissance began. Will Under The Skin be the same turning point for Johansson? Time will tell.
What I do know is that a fairly leftfield film turned me onto her in the first place so, for me, this type of role is where she should be… And I haven’t even seen it yet.