skip navigation
Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Also Known As: Died:
Born: November 22, 1984 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actress, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

In the mid-2000s, when gossip stories about twenty-something actresses behaving badly dominated headlines, Scarlett Johansson was nowhere to be found. Johansson was certainly one of the most respected actresses of her generation, having made an impact in a number of roles as intriguing young muses to older men in crisis, but she preferred to limit her dramatic behavior to movie screens. For her physical allure and intelligence, the born-and-bred New Yorker was courted by creative filmmakers like Robert Redford, who gave her a breakout role in "The Horse Whisperer" (1998), the Coen Brothers, Frank Miller and Woody Allen, who cast her in his late-career hits "Match Point" (2005) and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008). Johansson's translucent skin, curvy figure and flair for distant melancholy made her well-suited for period dramas like "Girl with the Pearl Earring" (2003) and "The Other Boleyn Girl" (2008), but the versatile actress also connected with young adult audiences for personifying the complex modern woman in films like "Ghost World" (2001) and "Lost in Translation" (2003). Johansson's number of intellectual pursuits outside of Hollywood also suggested that the poised performer would still be...

In the mid-2000s, when gossip stories about twenty-something actresses behaving badly dominated headlines, Scarlett Johansson was nowhere to be found. Johansson was certainly one of the most respected actresses of her generation, having made an impact in a number of roles as intriguing young muses to older men in crisis, but she preferred to limit her dramatic behavior to movie screens. For her physical allure and intelligence, the born-and-bred New Yorker was courted by creative filmmakers like Robert Redford, who gave her a breakout role in "The Horse Whisperer" (1998), the Coen Brothers, Frank Miller and Woody Allen, who cast her in his late-career hits "Match Point" (2005) and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008). Johansson's translucent skin, curvy figure and flair for distant melancholy made her well-suited for period dramas like "Girl with the Pearl Earring" (2003) and "The Other Boleyn Girl" (2008), but the versatile actress also connected with young adult audiences for personifying the complex modern woman in films like "Ghost World" (2001) and "Lost in Translation" (2003). Johansson's number of intellectual pursuits outside of Hollywood also suggested that the poised performer would still be going strong when others her age had long since burnt out. Fitting neatly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Black Widow in a number of films including the blockbuster hit "The Avengers" (2012) and "Captain America: Civil War" (2016), Johansson also maintained a steady presence in smaller films like Spike Jonze's futuristic romance "Her" (2013), in which she garnered raves in a role in which only her voice was heard.

Johansson and her twin brother, Hunter, were born in New York City on Nov. 22, 1984. Raised in Manhattan where her father was an architect and her mother a producer, she was singing, dancing and acting from the time she was very young. Her movie buff mother cooperated by taking her to auditions where she was so mature for her age that commercial directors passed her over but film and theater directors were captivated. She studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute and made her stage debut at age eight in 1993's "Sophistry" at Playwrights Horizons Theatre. When Johansson was 10, she launched her film career in Rob Reiner's disastrous "North" (1994), a family film about a boy who seeks emancipation and travels the world searching for a new family. The following year, Johansson's instinctively natural acting skill came to attention in the legal thriller "Just Cause" (1995), where she played the daughter of a couple (Sean Connery and Kate Capshaw) who are terrorized by a convicted rapist (Blair Underwood). While attending the Children's Professional School in New York, the focused young actress carried on full steam ahead with a film career, appearing in two films in 1996. She earned notice as one of Eric Schaeffer's wise charges in "If Lucy Fell" and took a co-starring role in the understated independent "Manny & Lo" (1996). Johansson's finely crafted portrayal of a rather sensible 11-year-old who escapes from a foster home and runs away with her 16-year-old sister earned her critical praise and led directly to her casting in the high profile but disappointing 1997 release, "Home Alone 3."

Johansson was the subject of great buzz again the following year with Robert Redford's blockbuster romance "The Horse Whisperer" (1998), where she took the role of a youngster whose debilitating riding accident is responsible for a romance between her mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) and a horse trainer (Robert Redford), and turning what could have been little more than a two-dimensional plot device into a full-fledged character. All but disappearing after this high-profile role, a teenaged Johansson resurfaced three years later as an in-demand actress for some of the independent film world's most respected directors. Terry Zwigoff cast Johansson in "Ghost World" (2001), where she starred alongside Thora Birch as the more pragmatic of two cynical outcasts newly graduated from high school. Snarky but less edgy than her bespectacled buddy, Johansson did not get the screen time of her co-star but nonetheless impressed in her smaller role as a teen facing an unknown future. Adding to her résumé of complex, three-dimensional teen roles that downplayed her blossoming beauty in favor of a sophisticated naturalism, Johansson was cast by the Coen Brothers as a teenager who fancies an aloof barber (Billy Bob Thornton) caught in a blackmail scheme in the acclaimed period noir, "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001). Later that year, she played a young Hungarian girl left behind when her refugee family flees their homeland during a Cold War political climate in "An American Rhapsody."

Johansson's star-making performance came with "Lost in Translation" (2003), writer-director Sophia Coppola's stylishly hip film about an emotionally adrift young married tourist left to her own devices in Tokyo. While her self-involved photographer husband is working, she forms a complex relationship with an equally disaffected fifty-something Hollywood actor (Bill Murray). The actress â¿¿ only 18 during filming â¿¿ was a revelation in the picture, displaying a rare, multilayered chemistry with Murray that fueled the movie and carried many scenes; some without dialogue. Her subtle, knockout performance was wildly praised by critics. Hot on the heels of that role, Johansson dazzled audiences in "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (2003), a speculative account of the life of the 16-year-old maid who posed for Johannes Vermeer's (Colin Firth) most famous painting. As a result of her two strong 2003 performances, Johansson received a pair of Golden Globe nominations â¿¿ one for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama (for "Girl With a Pearl Earring") and another for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (for "Lost In Translation"). "The Perfect Score" (2004), a limp teen caper made before Johansson's big breakout, was thankfully little-seen and she was better served with a pair of challenging roles released simultaneously in 2004.

First, she added depth to a supporting role as the daughter of a middle-aged ad salesman (Dennis Quaid) who becomes involved with her father's young boss (Topher Grace) in writer-director Paul Weitz's comedy "In Good Company." Following that moderate box office success, she gave a Golden Globe-nominated performance as a headstrong teen who returns to her late mother's home to unexpectedly share it with a pair of booze-soaked intellectual boarders (John Travolta and Gabriel Macht) in the Southern-influenced character drama "A Love Song for Bobby Long." In both films, Johansson's potent combination of adolescent freshness and wise-beyond-her-years maturity helped breathe a compelling realism into her roles. Off-screen, her male admirers were disappointed to find out that the young sex symbol had her own leading man, Josh Hartnett, with whom she began a two-year relationship in 2004. In an unfortunate introduction into the sci-fi action genre, Johansson was cast as the lead in director Michael Bay's misfire "The Island" (2005), as a woman living in a post-Apocalyptic world only to discover it is a façade for something much more sinister. As expected from an actress who generally shone under the employ of more artful auteurs, Johansson fared better in Woody Allen's serious-minded "Match Point" (2005), playing a sensual but struggling American actress in London who takes up with her ex-beau's brother-in-law (Jonathan Rhys-Myers), forcing him to choose between her and his comfortable, status-granting marriage. The result was another Golden Globe nomination and one of Allen's best works in years. Johansson would, in fact, become a kind of muse for the director, who would cast her in several more of his films.

The writer-director quickly drafted Johansson to star as an American student in London who becomes involved with an aristocrat (Hugh Jackman) in "Scoop" (2006), though that follow-up came and went without much fanfare. Her next outing was "The Black Dahlia" (2006), Brian De Palma's take on James Ellroy's complicated and richly-textured noir thriller about two hard-edged cops (Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart) who descend into obsession, corruption and sexual degeneracy while investigating the infamous brutal murder of a would-be actress (Mia Kirshner). Again, Johansson was believable as a sensual, smart woman able to woo men against their better judgment, but the film was not well received. She rebounded with the well-reviewed blockbuster "The Prestige" (2006), a Victorian-set supernatural thriller about two stage magicians (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) in an ongoing feud that takes them both to the top of their careers, but with terrible consequences. Fast-forwarding to the 1930s, Johansson co-starred in the unsuccessful attempt to bring Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan to the screen with "A Good Woman" (2006). While the actress was now a presence in the Top Ten lists of men's cheesecake magazines like Maxim and FHM, the well-grounded actress hardly took her new sex symbol status seriously, and continued with a run of decidedly non-male oriented films, starting with the surprisingly commercial comedy "The Nanny Diaries" (2007). The adaptation of the bestseller did not survive its reinvention as a screen comedy and underperformed at the box office.

In 2008, Johansson married film star Ryan Reynolds and co-starred with friend and fellow brainy babe Natalie Portman in the relatively successful "The Other Boleyn Girl" (2008), where she lent intelligence and wit to her portrayal of Mary Boleyn, sister of famed Henry VIII mistress, the beheaded Anne Boleyn. The film was the most widely-seen of Johansson's film releases that year, though her re-teaming with Woody Allen in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008), another European-set love triangle, was a hit with critics and perfectly utilized the actress' talent for intelligent, melancholy romance. She followed up with a pair of very different but similarly commercial-minded features: the adaptation of Frank Miller's comic "The Spirit" (2008) and a screen version of the cheeky self-help bestseller "He's Just Not That Into You" (2009). Johansson played an aspiring singer in the film, which dovetailed with her new off-screen interest in music and the release of her first album, Anywhere I Lay My Head (2008), a reinterpreted collection of songs by Tom Waits. Meanwhile, she joined the all-star cast that included Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Mickey Rourke for the hit sequel, "Iron Man 2" (2010), playing the Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff, an undercover spy for the espionage group S.H.I.E.L.D. posing as the assistant to billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Downey, Jr.).

While it came as no surprise to jaded devotees of the Hollywood lifestyle, fans expressed sadness over the news that Johansson and Reynolds were separating after a mere two years of marriage. Citing irreconcilable differences, the actress was a single woman once more by summer 2011. Another tabloid tidbit came that year in the form of nude photos of Johansson that were leaked on to the Internet. Apparently taken by Johansson herself on her own cell phone, the images were part of a hacking scandal that was investigated by the FBI. As embarrassing as the situation was, Johansson kept her composure, stating that they had been meant for her ex-husband and that she saw nothing inappropriate about images that weren't intended for the public. Johansson returned to screens opposite Matt Damon in Cameron Croweâ¿¿s dramedy "We Bought a Zoo" (2011), essaying a young zookeeper helping a recently widowed father (Damon) restore a decrepit menagerie as he reconnects with his grieving children. The actress then suited up for action once more as Romanoff, a.k.a. the Black Widow, a non-super-powered yet equally lethal member of the superhero team "The Avengers" (2012). Written and directed by Joss Whedon, the big-budget adventure â¿¿ which united comic book icons Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) â¿¿ was the most anticipated event movie of the summer. Johansson closed out the banner year by playing actress Janet Leigh in "Hitchcock" (2012), a behind-the-scenes showbiz biopic about the director (Anthony Hopkins) and his tumultuous attempt to make his horror classic, "Psycho" (1960).

In 2013, Johansson appeared in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's buzzed-about indie comedy "Don Jon," portraying a beautiful young woman who falls for the porn-addicted title character. That fall she was deemed the "Sexiest Woman Alive" by Esquire for the second time, and she also confirmed her engagement to French advertising exec Romain Dauriac. (The couple's first child, Rose Dorothy, was born in New York City on September 4, 2014.) Johansson capped the year with a voice-only performance as the computer voice Samantha in Spike Jonze's futuristic romantic comedy "Her" (2013); her flirty, thought-provoking role attracted Oscar buzz but was eventually deemed ineligible because the actress never appeared on screen.

In a productive year, Johansson starred in a pair of quirky science fiction thrillers, Jonathan Glatzer's "Under the Skin" (2014) and Luc Besson's "Lucy" (2014), as well as Jon Favreau's romantic comedy-drama "Chef" (2014). This was in addition to her supporting turn as Black Widow in the Marvel hit "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014) and "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (2015). Johansson reunited with the Coen Brothers in their affectionate homage to Hollywood's Golden Age, "Hail, Caesar!" (2016).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Jungle Book, The (2016)
3.
 Sing (2016)
5.
 Hail Caesar (2016)
6.
 Jungle Book, The (2016)
9.
 Lucy (2014)
10.
 Chef (2014)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1993:
Made her off-Broadway debut in "Sophistry" at Playwrights Horizons
1994:
Made feature acting debut in "North"
1995:
Played Sean Connery and Kate Capshaw's daughter in "Just Cause"
1996:
Starred in the independent film "Manny & Lo"
1997:
Landed a featured role in "Home Alone 3"
1998:
Portrayed a young girl injured in a riding accident in "The Horse Whisperer"; co-starred and directed by Robert Redford
2001:
Co-starred with Thora Birch in "Ghost World," directed by Terry Zwigoff
2001:
Featured as a piano-playing nymphet, opposite Billy Bob Thornton in the Coen brother's "The Man Who Wasn't There"
2003:
Co-starred with Bill Murray in "Lost in Translation," directed by Sofia Coppola; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress
2003:
Cast as a 17th century servant girl in "Girl with a Pearl Earring"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress
2004:
Became the official face of Calvin Klein's new fragrance
2004:
Joined Topher Grace and Dennis Quaid for the comedy "In Good Company"
2004:
Co-starred with John Travolta in "A Love Song for Bobby Long"; earned a Golden Globe nomination Best Actress
2005:
Appeared opposite Ewan McGregor in Michael Bay thriller "The Island"
2005:
Made first collaboration with director Woody Allen "Match Point"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Supporting Actress
2006:
Re-teamed with Allen for the comedy "Scoop" as a college newspaper journalist opposite Hugh Jackman
2006:
Cast as Aaron Eckhart's wife in "The Black Dahlia," Brian De Palma's adaptation of James Ellroy's classic noir novel
2007:
Played the nanny of a wealthy Manhattan household in "The Nanny Diaries"
2008:
Released debut album <i>Anywhere I Lay My Head</i>; consists of one original tracks and ten cover versions of Tom Waits songs
2008:
Joined Spanish actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem for Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
2009:
Joined an ensemble cast for the feature adaptation of the bestselling book "He's Just Not That Into You"
2010:
Made her Broadway debut in a revival of Arthur Miller's "A View From The Bridge"
2010:
Cast as Tony Stark's assistant Natalie Rushman (aka Black Widow) in Jon Favreau's "Iron Man 2"
2011:
Co-starred with Matt Damon in the Cameron Crowe directed family feature "We Bought a Zoo"
2012:
Reprised Black Widow role in the Marvel superhero ensemble feature "The Avengers"
2012:
Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
2012:
Portrayed actress Janet Leigh opposite Anthony Hopkins' "Hitchcock"
2013:
Featured in the indie comedy "Don Jon"
2014:
Played the Black Widow in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"
2014:
Starred in the action thriller "Lucy"
2015:
Reprised her role as the Black Widow in "Avengers: Age of Ultron"
2016:
Starred in the Coen Brothers' period comedy "Hail, Caesar!"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute: New York , New York -
Professional Children's School: New York , New York - 2002

Notes

Describing her desire for a show business career, a three-year old Johansson reportedly told her mother she "had a fire in [her] brain to act."

"Unfortunately, because it's adults writing these scripts, it's tough. The problem is that adults portray kids like mall-rats, and not seriously; after all, we're just like little adults and people with feelings too. Kids and teenagers just aren't being portrayed with any real depth."---Johansson on the teen actor's search for intelligent roles, to Andrew Urban at UrbanCinefile.com, July 1998.

"Look, I'm the kind of person that doesn't put up with bullshit. Does that make me uncommonly mature? I don't know. I think you mature with experiences, and how other people view you and your maturity really depends upon when you have those experiences ... I think I was born with a great awareness of my surroundings and an awareness of other people. I know when I really connect with somebody and I know when I feel like I've known somebody before. And I absolutely know what it feels like to meet an old soul, to know an old soul. So for my mom and Bob Redford, two people I really respect, to say that about me, well, that's a huge compliment."

"Maybe years from now, when I'm having my midlife crisis and need to find myself, I'll search deep down inside and find that old soul of mine and dust it off. But for now I'm enjoying getting to know all about my young soul."---Scarlett Johansson on her perceived maturity to Interview, July 2001.

"I don't plan on selling out. I mean, it's nice getting a dinner reservation ahead of other people, but when it comes down to it, the most important thing to me is the actual work."---Johansson to Movieline's Hollywood Life February 2004

Johansson was named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People for 2004

"There's cute, there's pretty, there's hot and there's beautiful. Scarlett Johansson falls in the beautiful bracket."---Frankie Muniz quoted in People May 10, 2004

"People just don't type cast me," she says. "I've played so many different roles, from a high school student, to a wife, to a 17th-century Dutch maid, to trailer trash. For a while, I thought I might get typecast as the bitter, shitty teenager who's always sarcastic, but luckily that was a fear that was never a reality."---Johansson to Empire, March 2005.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Patrick Wilson. Actor. Rumored to be dating as of January 2004.
companion:
Jared Leto. Actor. Rumored to be dating as of May 2004.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Karsten Johansson. Had bit role in "Manny & Lo".
mother:
Melanie Johansson. Had bit role in "Manny & Lo".
sister:
Vanessa Johansson. Had bit role in "Manny & Lo".
brother:
Adrian Johansson.
brother:
Hunter Johansson. Twin of Scarlett; had bit part in "Manny & Lo".
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute