Scarlett Johansson spoke out ahead of the release of “Black Widow” about the way her Marvel character is treated like a “piece of ass” in past films.
While on set for her first standalone film in the franchise, the actress revealed her contempt for the hypersexualization of her character, also known as Natasha, specifically in the “Iron Man” sequel.
“I mean, you look back at ‘Iron Man 2’ and while it was really fun and had a lot of great moments in it, the character is so sexualized, you know?” Johansson, 36, told Collider during a 2019 press visit to the set of the upcoming movie, according to the interview the site published this week. “Really talked about like she’s a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever — like a piece of ass, really. And Tony [Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr.] even refers to her as something like that at one point. What does he say? ‘I want some.’ “
While it doesn’t seem like the actress is too keen about the depiction of Natasha in previous films, she acknowledged the obvious erotic elements of her character.
“At one point [Tony] calls her a piece of meat, and maybe, at that time, that actually felt like a compliment,” she said.
Johansson said that her character uses her sexuality as both “a means to feel” and a tactic to manipulate the people around her. After playing the role since 2010, Johansson noted that the character is empowered in her vulnerability, calling her last act of sacrifice in “Avengers: Endgame” “incredibly powerful.”
Following the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” Natasha’s origin story is unlike her previous appearances in the Marvel universe. The storyline in “Black Widow,” the release of which was delayed due to the pandemic, is based around sisterhood and the “complicated feelings” that come along with her and her ally Yelena Belova’s (Florence Pugh) complicated relationship.
“Now people, young girls, are getting a much more positive message, but it’s been incredible to be a part of that shift and be able to come out the other side and be a part of that old story, but also progress. Evolve. I think it’s pretty cool,” Johansson said.
“Black Widow” opens both in theaters and on Disney+ on July 9.