“There’s really no place to hide.” So says Scarlett Johansson, movie maven, Avengers heroine and millionaire Hollywood actress as she contemplates the Time’s Up revolution following the demise of Harvey Weinstein.
“It’s quite shocking to see the results of that. It’s all very new.”
Aged 33 and best known for her roles in Lost in Translation, The Avengers and three Woody Allen films, she has already been in the film industry more than two decades and reportedly commands equivalent pay with male co-stars.
She has also modelled and is known for her activism, advocating for Planned Parenthood, addressing the 2017 Women’s March and appearing at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, calling for Barack Obama’s re-election.
Johansson is also a mother and when not doing everything else, she’s singing about the aftermath of a failed relationship in her latest collaboration with singer-songwriter Pete Yorn. Their EP, Apart, came out on Friday.
“It’s been really impressive,” she says, smart casual in a pair of high-waisted pale denim jeans and cream pussy-bow blouse, cheek bones to die for, as she contemplates the repercussions of Weinstein’s fall from grace, the sexual harassment watershed of #MeToo and the creation of the Time’s Up movement.
“I’ve been in the film industry for such a long time that I’m like these conversations are really important and they’re revolutionary.”
Born and raised in New York, Johansson is one of those stars who can seemingly turn her hand at anything. A child actress who delivered critically acclaimed performances, her breakthrough role as an adult was in Lost in Translation.
She’s done Broadway. Now she’s box office gold, starring in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, such as Iron Man 2 and The Avengers franchise — a stand-alone project for her Black Widow character in the works.
‘Doors blown open’
Then there are her Ivanka Trump parodies on Saturday Night Live.
To those who feel progress isn’t coming quickly enough, she counsels patience.
“It’s a long process and you have to keep your eye on the prize, and you have to be patient and progressive and persistent and you keep moving forward,” she said during a recent interview with Yorn to promote Apart.
“Certainly in the film industry, I think there’s conversations that are being had today about projects and the importance of diversity,” she says. “Ten years ago, nobody was talking about this stuff.”
“Every once in a while you’d hear someone say, ‘oh we should bring a female voice onto this project’ and you were like, ‘what the hell does that mean?’
“That was may be somebody’s idea to bring a woman into the writer’s room, or whatever. But now the doors are blown wide open,” she adds.
The EP is five indie tracks focused on the aftermath of a failed relationship — “where all the juicy stuff is,” in the words of Yorn. It comes out on Capitol Records a decade after their first album, Break Up, in 2009.
“In Iguana Bird, the chorus is ‘la-la-la-love-you’ and I remember thinking ‘oh wow, Scarlett would sound so pretty on that’ and she came in and she did, so that was like a dream come true,” he says.
The EP was recorded in downtown Los Angeles, with Johansson laying down her vocals in one afternoon, squeezed around her crazy schedule.
“Scarlett has an amazing work ethic,” says Yorn. “She’s just super pro.”
Johansson says music is just another way to express herself.
If Yorn obsessed as a New Jersey teenager over bands such as The Smiths, REM and Joy Division, Johansson, growing up in New York, was exposed to more jazz.
“It’s all coming from mostly here,” she says, pointing to her gut. “Sometimes here,” she gestures to the heart. “Mostly here,” she smiles, back to the gut.
Johansson has, so far at least, not joined the list of actors to distance themselves from Allen over accusations — unproven — that he molested his adopted daughter Dylan when she was seven, a quarter of a century ago.
But if that fanned a degree of criticism, she has publicly supported Georgina Chapman, the estranged wife of Weinstein whose husband’s transgressions, some had assumed, might spell the end of her Marchesa fashion label.
“To me, it seems inhumane to hold someone accountable for their partner’s actions,” explains Johansson. “It feels extremely, deeply wrong.”
To that end, she stepped out last month in a crimson Marchesa gown at the Met Gala, the New York’s party of the year. “I just really wanted something that was beautiful and my idea of heavenly and romantic.”