Johansson began acting during childhood, after her mother started taking her to auditions. She made her professional acting debut at the age of eight in the off-Broadway production of “Sophistry” with Ethan Hawke, at New York’s Playwrights Horizons. Her acting career has been vast and she been in movies like The Horse Whisperer (1998), directed by Robert Redford, My Brother the Pig (1999), The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Frances McDormand. n 2003, she was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, one for drama (Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)) and one for comedy (Lost in Translation (2003)), her breakout role, starring opposite Bill Murray, and receiving rave reviews and a Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival. Her film roles include the critically acclaimed Weitz brothers’ film In Good Company (2004), as well as starring opposite John Travolta in A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004), which garnered her a third Golden Globe Award nomination.
She has appeared as part of an ensemble cast in the romantic comedy He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), the action superhero film Iron Man 2 (2010), the comedy-drama We Bought a Zoo (2011) and starred as the original scream queen, Janet Leigh, in Hitchcock (2012). She then played her character, Black Widow, in the blockbuster action films The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019), and has a up coming movie Black Widow set to release this year.
One of the things she isnt well known for is her music career. Scarlett Johansson was first recorded singing in Sofia Copolla’s 2003, Oscar winning, “Lost in Translation.” The Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket” stretched her upper register but Johansson’s music career has revealed a stylized contralto that adjusts for the project at hand.
Her music career debuted with a sliding “Summertime,” reminiscent of Billie Holiday, as the opening track from Rhino Record’s 2006 “Unexpected Dreams: Songs from the Stars.” In 2007, Johansson performed the buzzing background vocals for “Just Like Honey” with The Jesus and Mary Chain at Coechella. Johansson’s “Summertime” performance led to her 2008 mostly Tom Waits covers album, “Anywhere I Lay My Head,” laced with her often haunting voice. Then, Johansson collaborated with singer songwriter Pete Yorn on the 2009 album “Break Up,” sounding a more playful tone while reaching platinum in France.
Johansson also returned to singing for film in 2009, covering Jeff Buckley’s “Last Goodbye” for the “He’s Just Not That Into You” soundtrack. In 2010, Johansson performed “One Whole Hour” on the J. Ralph produced soundtrack for the documentary “Wretches and Jabberers.” Their follow up collaboration, “Before My Time” on the “Chasing Ice” soundtrack, included violinist Joshua Bell and was nominated for a 2013 Oscar. Ralph said to The Hollywood Reporter, “’Scarlett is a world-class singer in every regard. She was the only person I wanted to sing this.'”
Johansson sang in front of the camera again, in a sense, in Spike Jonze’ 2013 techno-romance “Her.” As the AI Samantha, Johansson performed a ukulele duet called “The Moon Song” with Joaquin Phoenix. In 2016, Johansson performed “Trust in Me” as the serpent Kaa in Disney’s “The Jungle Book,” and several songs as the punk porcupine Ash in Illumination’s “Sing.” Johansson told USA Today that singing “Set It All Free,“ a “Sing” original, was, “’A musical departure for me, personally, but it’s the perfect representation of Ash’s experience.’”
In 2015, Johansson formed the band The Singles with Este Haim, Holly Miranda, Julia Haltigan, and Kendra Morris. She told NME, “’I love Grimes. And I love the Bangles. And I love the Go-Go’s. I wanted it to be like those bands: ultra pop but also a little ironic, a little in on the joke.’” The band released the single “Candy” and within a week received a cease and desist from another LA band that had been called The Singles since 1999.
Johansson’s band changed their name to Sugar for Sugar and Este Haim left the group in 2016. Sugar for Sugar released a faithful cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” on “The Time Is Now,” a benefit album for AIDS research foundation amFAR.
Although she has had a near steady presence in music since 2006, Johansson recognizes the importance of collaboration. She learned its advantage and intricacies on her first album, “Anywhere I Lay My Head.” Johansson told Interview, “’When I first started working on the album, I got some great jazz musicians together and we recorded a bunch of rough tracks, but it all sounded awful.’” She said, “I knew what kind of sound I wanted in my head, but I realized that I needed someone to help me get there.” Describing her first meeting with Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, Johansson said, “Once we spoke, it was very obvious to both of us that we shared the same ideas.”
Johansson reunited with Yorn for their second album, “Apart,” in 2018. Yorn told Forbes that he, “Just missed singing with Scarlett. It felt like too much time had gone by and I felt super nostalgic for those 2006, 2007 days.”
With the new release of “Apart” and Yorn frequently touring, the chances of a rare Johansson performance have been speculated by several news outlets. Johansson told Medium, “’I’m not a practiced singer in that capacity … so, it would be scary, but I think at this stage in my life maybe it would be a welcome challenge and less terrifying than ten years ago.’” She also said in the Forbes and Medium articles that it would have to be an intimate performance or a short run, but Yorn and Johansson both seem up for it.
Featured image courtesy of Foto: © JCS