Scarlett Johansson Recalls Filming Woody Allen Projects and How She Resisted Bombshell Label: “I Suddenly Found Myself Cornered”

Scarlett Johansson is one of the most successful actors of her generation and she’s just revealed a surprising new career goal. “My ideal job is a corner office on the Disney lot,” says the two-time Oscar nominee. “Like a little [bungalow]. That’s what I want.”

Johansson disclosed the dream during a career-focused conversation with Bruce Bozzi that dropped Monday on his new podcast, Table for Two with Bruce Bozzi. The two have a long history together as Bozzi is married to Johansson’s power agent, CAA partner, managing director and co-chairman Bryan Lourd. During the chat, Johansson detailed her rise through Hollywood’s ranks, from child star and reluctant ingenue to Marvel superhero and ambitious producer.

Table for Two features Bozzi in conversation with notable names over lunch. He and Johansson reserved a private space in New York at West Village hotspot Via Carota at a time that just so happened to coincide with a film shoot happening next door to the restaurant. “Every time I pass by a movie set in New York, I get a feeling of warmth mixed with panic, mixed with pity,” Johansson says with a laugh. Because of the coincidence, Johansson dove into the conversation by recalling her experience working for Woody Allen on Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a film that was shot in Barcelona where the filmmaker has reached “God-level” status (“He’s untouchable there,” she says) and where he always drew a sizable crowd.

“I would be talking to Rebecca Hall, we’re across from each other at, you know, a little café in Barcelona, lamenting our problems, and then behind Rebecca Hall would be 600 spectators, 50 paparazzi, people talking during the take,” Johansson recalled of the 2008 film. “It was a nightmare. Honestly, I have to say, I love my job and I’m not complaining about it but maybe actors are kind of, in a weird way, sort of gearing up for those moments because you have to just suspend your disbelief and zone out. We do it all the time. Whatever’s going on in your life, whatever’s going on in reality, you kind of figure out how to use it or lose it.”

She then told an anecdote about working with Allen on his 2006 murder mystery Scoop. Hearing actors share about time spent with Allen on his sets has become more rare in recent years as the once prolific filmmaker has seen his popularity in the U.S. decrease amid the #MeToo movement and resurfaced allegations from daughter Dylan Farrow.

“It was the silliest, most goofiest scene where at the end of it … he had to say something like, ‘Well, I’ve gotta be off, it’s spotted dick at the hotel tonight,” recalled Johansson of the line focused on the traditional British steamed pudding. “And he couldn’t keep it together. It took a couple takes and was like, giggles, giggles, giggles. Then it was hours of this one take. He was so angry with himself to the point where it was hysteria.”

She said it eventually got so out of control that they had to stop the work day and Allen was disappointed with himself. “It was crazy, and then everybody was pissed,” she continued, adding how it was disrespectful to the crew. “This is their work day, and they have their family and they got up at six in the morning and they need to get home because their kids have homework and whatever other thing and they need to come back the next day and do it [again]. I’ve never seen Woody … actually that week he was so angry at himself. The take that’s in the movie is really not great but anyway, point is, respect the crew. You gotta do the work. You gotta suck it up.”

Johansson and Bozzi then talked about how she navigated being pegged as an ingenue and a bombshell early in her career. “I did Lost in Translation and Girl With the Pearl Earring and by that point, I was 18, 19 and I was coming into my own womanhood and learning my own desirability and sexuality,” she explains. “I was kind of being groomed, in a way, to be this what you call a bombshell-type actor. I was playing the other woman and the object of desire and I suddenly found myself cornered in this place. I couldn’t get out of it. Right around that time is when I met Bryan.”

Bryan Lourd, Scarlett Johansson and Bruce Bozzi at the 35th American Cinematheque Awards in Beverly Hills in November 2021, a ceremony that honored Johansson’s contributions to the big screen.

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

It’s also rare to hear actors open up in detail about their reps and with such affection, but perhaps because of Bozzi and the mutual connection, Johansson spent a chunk of time talking about Lourd and what he’s like as both a rep and a human being. “Bryan is so calm and he has such genuine empathy. He’s so understanding and such a good listener,” she continued. “He’s such a gentleman and he really loves movies and he loves actors and he loves real work, real great work and art and performance. He thrives on putting together great creatives and making opportunities for people to do compelling work. And he just got it.”

She then circled back to how he helped break her out of the bombshell trajectory. “It would be easy to sit across from someone in that situation and go, ‘This is working,’” she explained. “But for that kind of bombshell, you know, that burns bright and quick and then it’s done and you don’t have opportunity beyond that. It was an interesting, weird conundrum to be in but it really came back to working at it and trying to carve a place in different projects and work in great ensembles.”

That ultimately led Johansson to Marvel Studios and playing Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow in the massive Avengers franchise. “I got this incredible opportunity to work in the second Iron Man, which that part at the time was very underdeveloped and over-sexualized, but I wanted to form a relationship with Jon Favreau who I worked with a couple of times after that, who’s an inspiration for me,” she said. “And I also wanted to work with Kevin Feige, who’s the head of Marvel, who I knew had a vision for this big picture.”

Though she didn’t mention it, Johansson got into a legal fight with Feige, Marvel and Disney over the July 2021 release of her standalone Avengers film, Black Widow. Backed by Lourd (both privately and publicly), she filed a breach of contract suit, claiming that the studio sacrificed the film’s box office potential in order to grow its Disney+ streaming service. The suit was settled though terms were not disclosed.

Johansson has continued to be in business with Disney and, per the above quote about wanting a corner office on the studio’s lot, things are obviously still friendly. About her future, Johansson also told Bozzi that she “would like to direct” but “I love producing.” She’s currently credited as a producer on the upcoming Project Artemis and Tower of Terror. “I really love producing and I love producing other people’s stuff. I always joke with Bryan about this and he’s like, ‘You’re insane.’”

Bozzi and Johansson’s full conversation is now streaming. The new season of Table for Two with Bruce Bozzi from iHeartMedia and Air Mail will feature a slew of A-list guests including George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Anna Wintour, Jon Bon Jovi, Tom Ford, Kate Hudson, Andy Cohen and more, breaking bread with Bozzi at some of his favorite restaurants in L.A., New York and beyond. New episodes drop every other Tuesday.

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