Scarlett Johansson has played Natasha Romanoff for over 10 years now, which is no small feat. The Marvel veteran first appeared in Iron Man 2 and starred in blockbusters such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Avengers, but recently got her own movie, Black Widow.
Black Widow is a historic film for Marvel Studios, as it’s their first that features a women-led cast and director. It’s a far cry from the male-dominated films Marvel has produced in the past, and Johansson has acknowledged on several occasions that Black Widow’s storyline speaks more realistically to the female perspective.
While promoting the newly released film, Johansson recently looked back on the evolution of Natasha’s appearance and how it’s historically been sexualized, revealing that male writers once gave the character a silly costume that had to quickly be removed from the Captain America: The Winter Soldier script.
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow character has had several different looks
Johansson discussed the progression of Natasha’s look over the years during a recent interview with Fatherly.
“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.”
Relatively early into her time working with Marvel, Johansson had the opportunity to work with a female costume designer who gave Natasha a look that deeply impressed her.
“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,” she said.
Male writers initially gave Natasha Romanoff a weird costume in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’
However, even though Johansson was complimentary of the work her past costume designer did, she admitted that working with male writers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier almost led to her wearing a costume that she found ridiculous.
“In some ways, I look at it as a costume she was wearing — at the time, Marvel was interested in the character being a shape-shifter,” she said. “When we were doing Captain America: The Winter Soldier — this is a really funny thing — the look is fantastic and utilitarian. 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.”
Scarlett Johansson says the representation of women in film is more progressive nowadays
Johansson attributed the awkward wardrobe decision to the masculine minds of the movie’s male writers. Because they weren’t thinking from a women’s perspective, their decision to portray her in a more sexualized fashion didn’t sit well with her.
“You work with a lot of male writers,” she said. “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. It’s been a process, it’s been a process.”
Black Widow is now playing in theaters.