Scarlett Johansson New Marvel Project in Works, Talks Disney Lawsuit

Before the American Cinematheque gala on Thursday night, 22 months had passed since Scarlett Johansson had stepped foot on a red carpet.

“This is more than just sticking your toe in. I feel like I’m getting completely soaked. But it’s exciting, “Johansson said. Variety to attend the event held in honor of his almost 30-year career.

Johansson was accompanied on the big night by her husband, “Saturday Night Live’s.” Colin Jost (who handed him a glass of champagne mid-interview as he made his way through the long line of reporters), and a host of former co-stars and friends, including his Marvel compatriot. Jeremy renner and Abbie Cornishas well as his twin brother Hunter johansson.

“I’m happy to be out there and see people and reconnect and resurface,” he added, noting that the honor itself was “almost too much to take in. It’s a lot to process.”

It’s been a dizzying couple of years for the star, who emerged from her double Oscar nomination for “Marriage Story” and “Jojo Rabbit” to finally star in and executive produce her long-awaited indie project “Black Widow.”

“Honestly, doing ‘Black Widow’ was one of the highlights of my career,” shared Johansson. “I loved coming to work every day working with my dream director Cate Shortland and an incredible cast of actors. I felt very lucky and grateful every day. “

The same happened with his experience as part of the post-production process and having the opportunity to guide the project from start to finish.

“Of course, when the pandemic hit and we were pushed, that was disappointing. But they were obviously crazy times, “he continued. “I was very happy that the film could be seen in the theater at a time when more people were vaccinated and more people felt safe going. I certainly never wanted people to feel like they were risking their health or their lives to go to the movies. “

Johansson described the entire experience as a “surreal time,” not to mention the fact that she also gave birth to her second child during this period. “A lot of things happened,” he said.

Things got even more complicated when Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney in July, arguing that the simultaneous release of “Black Widow” cannibalized the theatrical and violated his contract. After a public swing, the parties reached an agreement in late September.

“Going through the Disney lawsuit, when you’re doing something that seems like it hasn’t been done before, and it seems like it’s uncharted territory, it’s a bit …” Johansson began, searching for the right word and accepting the offer from ” scary . “

“You have many doubts,” he continued. “But at the same time, I felt like I was standing up for what was right, and now, no one will have to deal with it again. That makes me feel like it was definitely worth it. “

The actress also referred to the public support she received from Jamie Lee Curtis (who was present as one of his presenters) and his Marvel co-star Elizabeth Olsen.

“It was all, because it can feel very lonely to be in that place,” Johansson said. “Just knowing that all these strong women were supporting me, I felt like I was doing something worthwhile. It was very moving for me. And it cheered me up for a time that was stressful. “

Johansson’s comments on the lawsuit were the last to be made during the evening, which began with a few words of Jon favreau, who worked with Johansson on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as on his films “Chef” and “The Jungle Book.” Favreau arrived at the event over dinner and spoke directly to Johansson, who was in the center of the ballroom chatting with Team Marvel, including the president. Kevin Feige and Victoria Alonso.

Other presenters included “Jojo Rabbit” co-stars Thomasin McKenzie and Sam rockwell (who had also co-starred in “Iron Man 2” and appeared virtually, joking with Johansson about the times he’d kicked his butt on screen), plus Andy Richter, who delighted audiences with a clip of the actor’s first screen appearance, playing a spelling bee winner in a 1994 sketch about “Conan.”

Feige took the stage to present the “Black Widow” retrospective, touting Johansson’s contributions to the MCU as the actor who played Natasha Romanoff for the past decade and as a “very, very smart producer.” She also celebrated her work as a model for the expanding network of female characters who have followed her example (Carol Danvers, Wanda Maximoff, Shuri, Jennifer Walters, Monica Rambeau, and Kamala Khan). Among other topics, Feige called Johansson “one of the most talented, versatile, and beloved actors of our time.”

Then the head of Marvel gave a little news. “We are already working with Scarlett on another top-secret Marvel Studios project that is unrelated to Black Widow,” Feige announced.

In addition to Favreau and Feige, fellow Marvel stars Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, and Chris Evans (who noted that he first worked with Johansson nearly 20 years ago on 2004’s “The Perfect Score”) virtually saluted. his friend, while Renner served as the final presenter, taking the stage to present the American Cinematheque trophy to Johansson.

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Michael Buckner for Variety

There, the actress expressed her appreciation to all the co-stars, crew, agents, managers and publicists who have supported her for decades, as well as her mother Melanie, who fostered her love of movies (and possibly introduced her to “Silence of the Lambs ”and“ Schindler’s List ”too young).

Looking back at one of his earliest roles, 1994’s “North,” Johansson said that “he knew instantly that there was no job in the world or a creative family that he would rather be a part of and I still feel that way. … I’ve only become more confident over time that I’m doing the job I’m supposed to do: having a visceral and emotional reaction in a fantasy world. That’s the magic of movies. “

After making a couple of jokes about how he contextualized the honor reception with his therapist, he thanked the American Cinematheque for walking his path of memory.

“I’ve never been able to step back and really see work as part of everything. I still think of line readings I could have improved from ‘Ella’, ”he joked. “But tonight has been an incredible gift, because it has allowed me to pause and take it all in. And take my temperature and observe the landscape before continuing with such gratitude on the path that chose me 30 years ago.”

Johansson shared the best billing of the night with Participant, who was honored with the inaugural Power of Cinema award from the American Cinematheque. Presented by an Oscar-winning filmmaker Tom mccarthy (who made “The Visitor”, “Stillwater” and the winner of the best film “Spotlight” in the studio), CEO David linde accepted the award on behalf of the company and dedicated it to former executive Diane Weyermann, who passed away in October.

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