Scarlett Johansson is a living embodiment of the American dream, as is only too clear from her looks, lifestyle, career, personal life, and even culinary talents.
"I'm very fond of bread. If I hadn't become an actress, I would have gone to work in a bakery. If you only knew what tasty chocolate banana muffins I bake!” confesses Scarlett Johansson. This is probably not the kind of thing you would expect to hear from the face of Dolce&Gabbana, the singer admired by Tom Waits and David Bowie, the actress whom Woody Allen and Jon Favreau consider their muse. Nor perhaps would you expect revelations such as the following: “I have cellulite, my teeth are not ideal, I bite my nails, eat hamburgers, but I do have a good heart.”
Scarlett Johansson grew up in a typical American family with Danish/Jewish roots. She was born in New York, was brought up with four brothers and sisters, and is proud of the fact that she is three minutes older than her twin brother. After her parents divorced, she spent her childhood shuttling between New York and Los Angeles. As befits an American idol, she has remained true to herself at all times. Her best friends are not colleagues, but simple girls with whom she has been hanging out for more than 15 years. Her agent is her Mum. Even her boyfriend is not a famous actor or a business sharp-dealer, but an advertising creative called Romain Dauriac. Calvin Klein wanted to use her for its advertising campaign, a natural choice given that she is a deep-died patriot of her country. And she was invited by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the actor, director, and producer of the him Don Jon, to play the classic American girl of our time — Barbara, a gum-chewing 'girl next door' whose most terrible nightmare is the fact that her boyfriend watches porn.
Scarlett's genius is the stuff of legends. At the age of 7 she played with Ethan Hawke, and she was only 15 when she started receiving praise from some of the him world's most respected directors and actors. “I felt as if I were playing not with a girl but with a real woman; the Coen brothers and I were terrified of her,” Billy Bob Thornton once confessed. ‘‘How can she combine the looks of a child and the mind of a professor of philosophy?” At 19 she was offered the chance to play in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation. And at 21 she was given her first role by Woody Allen, a director who rarely suffers 'novices' gladly. Scarlett, however, has always managed to have good relations with adult men. ‘‘They're simply better at understanding me,” she says, shrugging her shoulders.
Scarlett really is one in a million. Who else could have been forgiven so many 'sins'? For making unflattering remarks about her colleagues Megan Fox paid with her career; and after being photographed in the nude Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan found that their next starring roles were in crime reports. But America is able to forgive Scarlett all of this; and it seems that the country's love for her is absolutely genuine. Scarlett has a talent for stoking the public's interest in her with deliciously ambiguous statements. What, for instance, are we to make of her story of how she celebrated her coming of age? “When I was 21 years old, my brother proposed we celebrate in a strip club. Of course, when we got there, someone ordered me a personal dance. It was awful because the girl who danced for me was so skinny that her coccyx or some other bones that were sticking out left me covered in bruises.” Or how about this: “I was driving through Los Angeles and I look up and see the biggest photo of me I have ever seen in my life on a massive ad space. I screamed and slammed on the brakes. I couldn't believe it. It's very strange to see my cleavage the size of a brontosaurus.”
Whatever Scarlett says or does, though, only reinforces people's belief in her humanity. Her voice, which she considers too low and hoarse, is praised by directors. She has recorded two albums, and has made her debut as a director in the short New York, I Love You. These attempts have brought little success, but that hasn't put Scarlett off. She has since played Maggie in a Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and is now preparing to direct a screen version of Truman Capote's novel Summer Crossing. And there's one more role which she is willing to try out: “I'd like to be President even for just one day. I'm sure I would get lots done in the Oval Office,” she says dreamily. And why not? ♦