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Scarlett Johansson: ‘Male Writers’ Came Up with Black Widow Look That Got ‘Quickly Killed’

"You have to be a part of the change," the actress said about playing a role in her MCU character's evolving look.

Scarlett Johansson in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"

Scarlett Johansson in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

Everett Collection

Scarlett Johansson stirred up buzz last month after saying her Marvel character, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, was “sexualized” and “treated like a piece of ass” when she was introduced in “Iron Man 2.” The character has grown in the 11 years since her debut, as has her costumes. Johansson spoke about Black Widow’s evolving look in a recent interview with Fatherly (via Uproxx).

“After ‘Iron Man’ to going into ‘Avengers,’ there’s been an evolution of her look,” Johansson said. “I think part of that is just gaining the trust of the executives at Marvel and kind of sitting in the character and just being able to make decisions for her. That really happened fairly early on. I mean, in ‘Iron Man 2,’ I worked with the amazing incredible costume designer Mary Zophres, who created an absolutely beautiful femme fatale look for the character. And it was very stunning.”

Johansson said she viewed her “Iron Man 2” outfits as “a costume [Natasha] was wearing — at the time, Marvel was interested in the character being a shape-shifter.” But the actress wasn’t a fan of all the Black Widow costumes proposed.

“When we were doing ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ — this is a really funny thing — the look is fantastic and utilitarian,” Johansson said. “She first drives up in this beautiful car and picks up Cap, and initially in the script, it was like, she arrives in her tennis whites, with a blonde wig. It was very quickly killed.”

Johansson continued, “You work with a lot of male writers. Things were shifting. You have to be a part of the change. Audiences are also demanding stuff and there’s a cultural shift and it feeds everything into a more progressive direction.”

Speaking last month about the treatment of her MCU character, Johansson had this to say: “It definitely has changed and I think part of that change has probably — it’s hard because I’m inside it, but probably a lot of that is actually from me too. I’ll be 35 years old and I’m a mom and my life is different. Obviously, 10 years have passed and things have happened and I have a much different, more evolved understanding of myself. As a woman, I’m in a different place in my life, you know? And I felt more forgiving of myself, as a woman, and not — sometimes probably not enough. I’m more accepting of myself, I think.”

Scarlett Johansson’s latest Marvel movie, “Black Widow,” opens July 9 in theaters and on Disney+ through Premier Access.

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