Kate's Notes

Friday, March 09, 2007

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson (born November 22, 1984) is world renowned for being not only a beauty, but one of the most talented actresses of her young generation. She rose to fame with her role in 1998's The Horse Whisperer and subsequently gained critical acclaim for her roles in Ghost World, Lost in Translation and Girl with a Pearl Earring, the latter two earning her Golden Globe Award nominations in 2003. She has been named 2006's "most beautiful" and "sexiest" woman alive by Esquire, FHM, respectively, and topped all the other lists out their.

Early Life

Johansson was born in New York City to Karsten Johansson, a Danish architect, and Melanie Sloan, who comes from a Bronx-bred Jewish American family. Her mother and met Karsten Johansson while living in Denmark with Scarlett Johansson's maternal grandmother, Dorothy, a former bookkeeper and schoolteacher. Her paternal grandfather, Ejner Johansson, was a screenwriter and director. Johansson has an older sister, Vanessa, who is also an actress; an older brother, Adrian; a twin brother, Hunter, also an actor; and a half-brother, Christian. She is of Polish/Danish descent.

As might be expected of an acting prodigy, Johansson had an unusually early interest in performing: she wanted to be an actress since age 3, and was acting professionally when she was only 8 years old. After taking classes at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute for Young People, Johansson made her stage debut in the early 1990s in the off-Broadway production of Sophistry, alongside Ethan Hawke.


Johansson began her acting career in 1994 starring as "Laura Nelson" in North. In 1998, the acclaimed film The Horse Whisperer (1998) brought Johansson critical praise and worldwide recognition. Following the film's success, she starred in many other films including the critically acclaimed cult film Ghost World (2001) and then the hit Sofia Coppola film Lost in Translation (2003) with Bill Murray in which she again stunned critics. Later on, she appeared in Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003).

She won the "Upstream Prize" for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for her performance as Charlotte in Lost in Translation. The same year, she was nominated for two best actress awards at the Golden Globes, one for drama (Girl with a Pearl Earring) and one for comedy (Lost in Translation). She was also nominated for best actress for both films at the BAFTAs, and won best actress for Lost in Translation.

Johansson was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June of 2004. In the same year, she starred in the films The Perfect Score, In Good Company and A Love Song for Bobby Long, the last of which earned her a third Golden Globe Award nomination. Johansson was involved for a short time with the film Mission: Impossible III, but was not officially cast because of scheduling conflicts, although a falling out with the film's star, Tom Cruise, had been both widely reported and publicly denied. She was replaced by Keri Russell.

In July 2005, Johansson starred with Ewan McGregor in the Michael Bay-directed The Island, making her debut as a female lead in a mainstream action film. She drew attention to both the film and herself when she proposed to appear topless in the film's sex scene, but director Bay disapproved, wanting to keep the film at a PG-13 rating. She said that working on the film, she “came home and I thought I was going to die. I was in agony. I had muscles that had atrophied. I couldn't run any longer and it was only the first day. But, actually, Ewan was in the same boat. He had black and blue marks all over him. So, it wasn't so bad since someone else was in agony."

In the same year, she starred in the Woody Allen-directed drama Match Point, which opened in December. Johansson received her fourth Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the role but lost to Rachel Weisz. Johansson's next film, Scoop, another collaboration with Woody Allen, was released on 28 July 2006. The same year, she appeared in director Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia, a film noir shot in Los Angeles and Bulgaria. Johansson has noted that she was a fan of De Palma and had wanted to work with him on the film, despite her belief that she was "physically wrong" for the part. Her reviews were mixed: CNN.com positively noted that Johansson "takes to the pulpy period atmosphere as if it were oxygen," whereas another reviewer referred to Johansson as "miscast."

Johansson's most recent role was in the thriller The Prestige, which opened on October 20, 2006. She has also completed filming on the yet be released film version of The Nanny Diaries along side Alicia Keys, and has been cast opposite Natalie Portman and Eric Bana in The Other Boleyn Girl, playing Mary Boleyn, the sister of Portman's character. Filming is scheduled to begin in London in October 2006 for a 2007 release. Johansson will also play the title character Mary, Queen of Scots, in a film scheduled to begin production by the end of summer 2007.

Other Works

Johansson endorsed the Calvin Klein perfume "eternity Moment" and was featured in several commercials and printed advertisements for the product. About her Calvin Klein ads, she has said "I don't know if I've got swept up. It's so shocking when you hear that Calvin Klein wants you for their new campaign. You're like, 'who me?'. I guess you have to decide where you draw the line between you saying, this is fun, pretty and fabulous, and being over-exposed." One of the commercials was featured in her 2005 film The Island.

Further establishing her position in Hollywood, she became the face and spokesperson for the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton in early 2005 and in January 2006 was named the spokesperson of L'Oreal.

In March of 2006, she topped the U.S. edition of FHM's poll of the sexiest women alive (in the UK edition Johansson was third). In May of 2006, Maxim named Johansson #6 in their Hot 100 issue, and in July of 2006, Reebok signed a deal with Johansson to co-create "Scarlett 'Hearts' Rbk," athletic footwear scheduled for a debut in the spring of 2007. Johansson will also be featured in Reebok's global women's advertising campaign, also in the spring of 2007. The company's press releases described Johansson as a "world renowned style icon" and an "inspiration for today's young women." In November 2006, Johansson was named "Sexiest Woman Alive" by Esquire magazine.

In 2006, Johansson starred in a short film directed by Bennett Miller and set to Bob Dylan's "When the Deal Goes Down...," released to promote Dylan's album, Modern Times. Between 2005 and 2006, she also sang the track "Summertime" for Unexpected Dreams - Songs from the Stars, a non-profit collection of songs recorded by Hollywood actors, and was in talks to appear in a stage version of The Sound of Music.

In October 2006, Fox News reported that Johansson has signed to record a music album with Rhino Entertainment's Atco Records, with a possible release date of Spring 2007. The album, entitled Scarlett Sings Tom Waits, will consist entirely of Johansson's cover versions of Tom Waits songs. Johansson is also the leading lady in the Justin Timberlake music video "What Goes Around Comes Around."

She has also been hand picked by Jenna Jameson to star in a biopic of the port-stars life. The adult film entertainer has said, "She's my choice, I think she's beautiful."

Personal Life

Johansson is a Democrat and campaigned for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. She was later quoted as saying, of George W. Bush's re-election, that "[she was] disappointed. I think it was a disappointment for a large percentage of the population." Johansson has also taken part in the anti-poverty campaign "ONE" which was organised by U2 lead singer Bono.

Johansson has previously stated that she has a connection to older men, and could not see herself dating anyone under the age of thirty. She has also noted that she does not discuss "any part" of her personal life with the press, specifying that she feels "it's nice to have everybody not know your business." However, this has not stopped Johansson from sharing "select" opinions and personal details. Johansson's ex-boyfriend (and member of the band Steel Train), Jack Antonoff, has included negative lyrics that refer to Johansson in his band's song "Better Love." Antonoff also references Johansson in the song "2 O'clock." She has been linked to many famous men, including Derek Jeter, Benicio Del Toro (whom she supposedly had a lacivious encounter with in an elevator), Jared Leto, and a long term relationship with The Black Dahlia co-star Josh Hartnett. The pair dated for around two years until the end of 2006, with Josh citing their busy professional lives as the reason for the split.

In early 2007 she was linked to international pop superstar Justin Timberlake after starring in the music video, "What Goes Around Comes Around."

Johansson has repeatedly said that she does not believe in monogamy or monandry, and that it is not human nature to be with just one person but "contrary to popular belief... [she is] not promiscuous" and she works "really hard" when she is in a relationship "to make it work in a monogamous way." Though, she has said that she doesn’t “think human beings are monogamous by nature. It's difficult - you have to put a lot of effort into a relationship. I think it's hard for actors to date each other because they are so damn moody. You are away from people constantly and having a relationship that is strictly by phone, it is miserable. Or if you say to him/her, 'Hey, (even though) I am doing a very sexy scene with this very sexy girl/boy, I love you and I'm going to be thinking of you when I am rolling around in bed with this person!'"
She gets tested for HIV twice a year, and has specified that she feels "it's part of being a decent human" and that she finds it "disgusting" and "irresponsible" when people do not do so.

Johansson has claimed to be addicted to swiss cheese, saying: "My greatest vice is cheese. Nothing else reigns over my life." She has criticized the media and Hollywood for promoting an image that causes unhealthy diets and eating disorders among women, saying that she thinks "that being ultra-thin is not sexy at all. Women shouldn't be forced to conform to unrealistic and unhealthy body images that the media promote."

When asked about her current religious affiliation, Johansson has answered: "That's a very personal question. I would rather not answer". She has, however, specified that she celebrates "Chrismakkuh," a "little of both" Hanukkah and Christmas. She has noted that she dislikes it when celebrities thank God or Jesus in their award acceptance speeches.

Charity Work

Johansson also contributes to her fair share of charities, and in 2007 she was a no-show at Oscar parties after the ceremony after snubbing the event to visit Sri Lanka and India on a charity project. The beauty is spent 10 days in the South Asia region as part of a trip organized by international aid agency Oxfam.

Oxfam executive director Jeremy Hobbs says, "By supporting Oxfam, Scarlett is taking a stand alongside millions of people globally who are working to overcome poverty. Her support is crucial in helping to show how the smallest donation to Oxfam can mean the world of difference to a poor community."


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