A Minute With: Scarlett Johansson and the Black Widow

Wed May 2, 2012 7:18pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Scarlett Johansson first joined the Marvel comic book superhero universe when she was introduced as the mysterious Black Widow opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the 2010 blockbuster "Iron Man 2."

The action-filled movie role marked a big change for the actress, who's known more for low-key performances in films like Sofia Coppola's drama "Lost in Translation" or Woody Allen's sly comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

But Johansson is in fighting form to reprise her role as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, in Marvel Studios' "The Avengers," due in theaters Friday.

With her bright red hair and latex suit, the Black Widow teams up with Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye and Thor to stop the evil Loki from conquering Earth with his army.

Johansson sat down with Reuters to talk about the film, the fighting style she learned for her role and what it was like to master her character's native Russian language.

Q: Black Widow was introduced in "Iron Man 2" but gets far more exposure in "Avengers." How did you expand the character?

A: "At the end of "Iron Man 2," we know she's a part of S.H.I.E.L.D., but we don't know what S.H.I.E.L.D. is. In this film, (director) Joss Whedon and I talked about her past. Who is she? How does she get to be a mercenary? What path do you follow in order to get to that place? We both wanted to see the darker side of her - not just that she's someone who is highly skilled, but why did she have to learn those skills?"

Q: You're in top form physically on screen. What new fighting skills did you learn?   Continued...

Actress Scarlett Johansson and actor Jeremy Renner pose by her star after it was unveiled on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni