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While Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow has long been a fan-favorite Avenger and is now set to (finally) lead her own stand-alone movie, Johansson suggested her character’s portrayal in 2010’s Iron Man 2 missed the mark.
In a set visit interview with reporters published this week by Hello Beautiful, Johansson began by noting that her character has evolved over the years and part of that has been a result of her own evolution as a person and an actress (“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”).
Then she noted, “All of that is related to that move away from the kind of hypersexualization of this character and, I mean, you look 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? 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] even refers to her as something like that at one point … ‘I want some’ [says Tony] … and at one point calls her a piece of meat and maybe at that time that actually felt like a compliment. You know what I mean? Because my thinking was different. Maybe I even would have, you know, my own self-worth was probably measured against that type of comment or, like a lot of young women, you come into your own and you understand your own self-worth. It’s changing now. 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.”
In one scene, an undercover Natasha spars in a boxing ring with Tony’s assistant/bodyguard Happy (Jon Favreau) and quickly takes him down. Afterward, she asks for Tony’s fingerprint on a document. As Tony watches her walk away, he tells Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) “I want one,” and Pepper replies, “No.”
Johansson’s upcoming film Black Widow is a prequel set after the events in Captain America: Civil War with Romanoff confronting a dangerous conspiracy from her past. The project has been in development since 2004 and was its release was further delayed repeatedly from its original March 2020 release date amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s the official trailer:
Black Widow will be released July 9 in theaters and on Disney+.
June 18, 1:50 p.m.: Updated with clarification that Johansson’s quotes were taken from a set visit in 2019 and published by Hello Beautiful.
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