Why MCU Star Scarlett Johansson Took Aim at the Media After Signing on for ‘Iron Man 2’

When Scarlett Johansson joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2009, getting into superhero shape required some intensive training. While toning up as Black Widow for Iron Man 2, Johansson received more coverage for her physique than her film role.

The misguided media attention inspired Johansson to pen a lengthy op-ed calling out reporters on their ill-focused storylines.

Scarlett Johansson attends the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards
MCU star Scarlett Johansson | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Black Widow has to wear the infamous cat suit

Taking on the role of Natasha Romanoff – aka Black Widow – was a change of pace for Johansson. Becoming a part of the famed superhero genre was a new venture in her career.

“[It was] very challenging and really exciting for me because I have never had to do anything like this before,” the Lost in Translation star told Access Hollywood in 2009, according to NBC Chicago. “It’s really exciting to see it all culminate to this point.”

As for the workouts that Johansson had to endure, she kept her eye on a famous clothing item for inspiration.

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“I kicked some major butt,” the Marvel actor told People at the time. “It was many, many, hours, days, and months of stunt training and strength training, but it’s fun because I had a goal. The goal was the Lycra catsuit.”

Scarlett Johansson speaks out in writing

In July 2009, Johansson vented her frustration on the media’s obsession with her weight and workouts. Writing an op-ed for the Huffington Post, the MCU star cited several falsehoods that had been printed about her regimen.

“Since dedicating myself to getting into ‘superhero shape,’ several articles regarding my weight have been brought to my attention,” Johansson wrote. “Claims have been made that I’ve been on a strict workout routine regulated by co-stars, whipped into shape by trainers I’ve never met, eating sprouted grains I can’t pronounce and ultimately losing 14 pounds off my 5’3” frame.”

Taking reporters to task, Johansson blatantly outlined the absurdity of their claims.

“Losing 14 pounds out of necessity in order to live a healthier life is a huge victory. I’m a petite person to begin with, so the idea of my losing this amount of weight is utter lunacy,” the Marriage Story star pointed out. “If I were to lose 14 pounds, I’d have to part with both arms. And a foot.”

Marvel star makes a strong case against the media

Johansson presented statistics from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and called out the media for their contribution to distorted body image.

“I’m frustrated with the irresponsibility of tabloid media who sell the public ideas about what we should look like and how we should get there,” she wrote. “The idea that the media would maintain that I have lost an impossible amount of weight by some sort of ‘crash diet’ or miracle workout is ludicrous. I believe it’s reckless and dangerous for these publications to sell the story that these are acceptable ways to looking like a ‘movie star.'”

The Academy Award nominee feared that young girls subjected to these false headlines would starve themselves in order to look like a movie star. Johansson concluded her article with a reprimand.

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“I’m not normally the type to dignify toilet paper rags with a response, but in this case I feel it’s my responsibility to comment,” she wrote. “In a way, I’m glad some dummy journalist (and I use the term ‘journalist’ loosely) is banking on my ‘deflating’ so that I can address the issue straight from my healthy heart.”

For more information on the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), click here.