As a public figure, Johansson is a prominent brand endorser and supports various charities. She has been cited as a Hollywood sex symbol by various media outlets. She has been married three times: to Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds from 2008 to 2011; French businessman Romain Dauriac, with whom she has a daughter, from 2014 to 2017; and comedian Colin Jost since 2020.
Scarlett Ingrid Johansson was born on November 22, 1984, in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Her father, Karsten Olaf Johansson, is an architect originally from Copenhagen, Denmark. Her paternal grandfather, Ejner Johansson, was an art historian, screenwriter, and film director, whose own father was Swedish. Her mother, Melanie Sloan, is a New Yorker who has worked as a producer. She comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish family from Poland and Russia, originally surnamed Schlamberg, and Johansson has described herself as Jewish. She has an older sister, Vanessa, also an actress; an older brother, Adrian; and a twin brother, Hunter. Johansson also has an older half-brother, Christian, from her father's first marriage. Johansson holds dual American and Danish citizenship. She discovered that her maternal great-grandfather's family died during the Holocaust in the Warsaw Ghetto on a 2017 episode of PBS's Finding Your Roots.
Johansson attended PS 41, an elementary school in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Her parents divorced when she was 13. Johansson was particularly close to her maternal grandmother, Dorothy Sloan, a bookkeeper and schoolteacher; they often spent time together and Johansson considered Sloan her best friend. Interested in a career in the spotlight from an early age, she often put on song-and-dance routines for her family. She was particularly fond of musical theater and jazz hands. She took lessons in tap dance, and states that her parents were supportive of her career choice. She describes her childhood as very ordinary.
As a child, Johansson practiced acting by staring in the mirror until she made herself cry, wanting to be Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis. At age seven, she was devastated when a talent agent signed one of her brothers instead of her, but she later decided to become an actress anyway. She enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, and began auditioning for commercials, but soon lost interest: "I didn't want to promote Wonder Bread." She shifted her focus to film and theater, making her first stage appearance in the Off-Broadway play Sophistry with Ethan Hawke, in which she had two lines. Around this time, she began studying at Professional Children's School (PCS), a private educational institution for aspiring child actors in Manhattan. At age nine, Johansson made her film debut as John Ritter's daughter in the fantasy comedy North (1994). She says that when she was on the film set, she knew intuitively what to do. Johansson later played minor roles including as the daughter of Sean Connery and Kate Capshaw's characters in the mystery thriller Just Cause (1995), and an art student in If Lucy Fell (1996).
1996–2002: Early work
Johansson's first leading role was as Amanda, the younger sister of a pregnant teenager who runs away from her foster home in Manny & Lo (1996) alongside Aleksa Palladino and her brother, Hunter. Her performance received positive reviews: one written for the San Francisco Chronicle noted, "[the film] grows on you, largely because of the charm of ... Scarlett Johansson," while critic Mick LaSalle, writing for the same paper, commented on her "peaceful aura" and asserted, "If she can get through puberty with that aura undisturbed, she could become an important actress." Johansson earned a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female for the role.
After appearing in minor roles in Fall and Home Alone 3 (both 1997), Johansson attracted wider attention for her performance in the film The Horse Whisperer (1998), directed by Robert Redford. The drama film, based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Nicholas Evans, tells the story of a talented trainer with a gift for understanding horses, who is hired to help an injured teenager played by Johansson. She received an "introducing" credit on this film, although it was her seventh role. On Johansson's maturity, Redford described her as "13 going on 30".Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote that Johansson "convincingly conveys the awkwardness of her age and the inner pain of a carefree girl suddenly laid low by horrible happenstance". For the film, she was nominated for the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress. She believed the film changed many things in her life, realizing that acting is the ability to manipulate one's emotions. On finding good roles as a teenager, Johansson said it was hard for her as adults wrote the scripts and they "portray kids like mall rats and not seriously ... Kids and teenagers just aren't being portrayed with any real depth".
Johansson transitioned from teen to adult roles with two films in 2003: the romantic comedy-drama Lost in Translation and the drama Girl with a Pearl Earring. In the former, directed by Sofia Coppola, she played Charlotte, a listless and lonely young wife, opposite Bill Murray. Coppola had first noticed Johansson in Manny & Lo, and compared her to a young Lauren Bacall; she based the film's story on the relationship between Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946). Johansson found the experience of working with a female director different because of Coppola's ability to empathize with her.Lost in Translation received critical acclaim and was a box office success, grossing $119million worldwide against its $4million budget.Roger Ebert was pleased with the film and described the lead actors' performances as "wonderful", and Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote of Johansson's "embracing, restful serenity".The New York Times praised Johansson, aged 17 at the time of filming, for playing an older character.
In Peter Webber's Girl with a Pearl Earring, which is based on the novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, Johansson played Griet, a young 17th-century servant in the household of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (played by Colin Firth). Webber interviewed 150 actors before casting Johansson. The actress found the character moving, but did not read the novel as she thought it was better to approach the story with a fresh start. She bleached her eyebrows in order to better resemble the subject of Vermeer's painting.Girl with a Pearl Earring garnered positive reviews and was profitable. Critic Owen Gleiberman remarked that Johansson "gives a nearly silent performance, yet the interplay on her face of fear, ignorance, curiosity, and sex is intensely dramatic."Anthony Lane of The New Yorker believed that her presence had kept the film "alive", writing: "She is often wordless and close to plain onscreen, but wait for the ardor with which she can summon a closeup and bloom under its gaze; this is her film, not Vermeer's, all the way." She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress[a] for both films, winning the former for Lost in Translation.
Variety opined that Lost in Translation and Girl with a Pearl Earring established Johansson among the most versatile actresses of her generation. She had five releases in 2004, three of which—the teen heist film The Perfect Score, the drama A Love Song for Bobby Long, and the drama A Good Woman—were critical and commercial failures. Co-starring with John Travolta, Johansson played a discontented and suspicious teenager in A Love Song for Bobby Long, which is based on the novel Off Magazine Street by Ronald Everett Capps. David Rooney of Variety wrote that Johansson's and Travolta's performances rescued the film. She received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama nomination for it.
In her fourth release in 2004, the live-action animated comedy The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Johansson voiced Princess Mindy, the daughter of King Neptune. She agreed to the project because of her love of cartoons and The Ren & Stimpy Show. The film was her most commercially successful release that year. She followed it with In Good Company, a comedy-drama in which her character complicates the life of her father when she dates his much younger boss. Reviews of the film were generally positive, describing it as "witty and charming". Roger Ebert was impressed with Johansson's performance, writing that she "continues to employ the gravitational pull of quiet fascination". She would then reprise her role in the video game adaptation of the film.
Johansson played Nola, an aspiring actress who begins an affair with a married man (played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers) in Woody Allen's drama Match Point in 2005. After replacing Kate Winslet with Johansson for the role, Allen changed the character's nationality from British to American. An admirer of Allen's films, Johansson liked the idea of working with him, but felt nervous her first day on the set.The New York Times was impressed with the performances of Johansson and Rhys Meyers, and Mick LaSalle stated that she "is a powerhouse from the word go", with a performance that "borders on astonishing". The film, a box office success, earned her nominations for the Golden Globe and the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress. Also that year, Johansson underwent a tonsillectomy, after which she starred opposite Ewan McGregor in Michael Bay's science fiction film The Island, in dual roles as Sarah Jordan and her clone, Jordan Two Delta. The actress found her filming schedule exhausting: she had to shoot for 14 hours a day, and she hit her head and injured herself. The film received mixed reviews and grossed $163million against a $126million budget.
Two of Johansson's films in 2006 explored the world of stage magicians, both opposite Hugh Jackman. Allen cast her opposite Jackman and himself in the film Scoop (2006), in which she played a journalism student. The film was a modest worldwide box office success, but polarized critics. Ebert was critical of the film, but found Johansson "lovely as always", and Mick LaSalle noted the freshness she brought to her part. She also appeared in Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia, a film noir shot in Los Angeles and Bulgaria. Johansson later said she was a fan of DePalma and had wanted to work with him on the film, but thought she was unsuitable for the part.Anne Billson of The Daily Telegraph likewise found her miscast. However, CNN stated that she "takes to the pulpy period atmosphere as if it were oxygen".
Also in 2006, Johansson starred in the short film When the Deal Goes Down to accompany Bob Dylan's song "When the Deal Goes Down..." from the album Modern Times. Johansson had a supporting role of assistant and lover of Jackman's character, an aristocratic magician, in Christopher Nolan's mystery thriller The Prestige (2006). Nolan thought Johansson possessed "ambiguity" and "a shielded quality". She was fascinated with Nolan's directing methods and liked working with him. The film was a critical and box office success, recommended by the Los Angeles Times as "an adult, provocative piece of work". Some critics were skeptical of her performance: Billson again judged her miscast, and Dan Jolin of Empire criticized her English accent.
Johansson's sole release of 2007 was the critically panned comedy-drama The Nanny Diaries alongside Chris Evans and Laura Linney, in which she played a college graduate working as a nanny. Reviews of her performance were mixed; Variety wrote, "[She] essays an engaging heroine", and The New Yorker criticized her for looking "merely confused" while "trying to give the material a plausible emotional center". In 2008, Johansson starred, alongside Natalie Portman and Eric Bana, in The Other Boleyn Girl, which also earned mixed reviews. Promoting the film, Johansson and Portman appeared on the cover of W, discussing with the magazine the public's reception of them. Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers criticized the film for "[moving] in frustrating herks and jerks", but thought the duo were the only positive aspect of the production.Variety credited the cast as "almost flawless ... at the top of its game", citing "Johansson's quieter Mary ... as the [film's] emotional center".
In her third collaboration with Woody Allen, the romantic comedy-drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), which was filmed in Spain, Johansson played one of the love interests of Javier Bardem's character opposite Penélope Cruz. The film was one of Allen's most profitable and received favorable reviews. Todd McCarthy described Johansson as "open and malleable" compared to the other actors. She also played the femme fatale Silken Floss in The Spirit, based on the newspaper comic strip of the same name by Will Eisner. It received poor reviews from critics, who deemed it melodramatic, unoriginal, and sexist. Johansson's only role in 2009 was as Anna Marks, a yoga instructor, in the ensemble comedy-drama He's Just Not That into You (2009). The film was released to tepid reviews, but was a box office success.
2010–2013: Marvel Cinematic Universe and stage work
Johansson had aspired to perform on Broadway since childhood. She made her debut in a 2010 revival of Arthur Miller's drama A View from the Bridge. Set in the 1950s, in an Italian-American neighborhood in New York, it tells the tragic tale of Eddie (played by Liev Schreiber), who has an inappropriate love for his wife's orphaned niece, Catherine (played by Johansson). After some reservations about playing a teenage character, she agreed to the production when a friend convinced her to take the role. David Rooney was impressed with the play and Johansson in particular, describing her as the chief performer, and Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote that she "melts into her character so thoroughly that her nimbus of celebrity disappears." She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Some critics and Broadway actors criticized the award committee's decision to reward the work of mainstream Hollywood actors, including Johansson. The actress responded that she understood the frustration, but had worked hard for her accomplishments.
Johansson played Black Widow in Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2 (2010), a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Before she secured the role, she dyed her hair red to convince Favreau that she was right for the part, and undertook stunt and strength training to prepare for the role. Johansson said the character resonated with her, and she admired the superhero's human traits. The film earned $623.9million against its $200million budget, and received generally positive reviews from critics, although reviewers criticized how her character was written. Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph and Matt Goldberg thought she had little to do but look attractive. Johansson played the role of Kelly, a zookeeper, in the 2011 family film We Bought a Zoo alongside Matt Damon. The film got mainly favorable reviews, and Anne Billson praised Johansson for bringing depth to a rather uninteresting character. Johansson earned a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress: Drama nomination for her performance.
Johansson learned some Russian from a former teacher on the phone for her role as Black Widow in The Avengers (2012), another entry from the MCU. The film received mainly positive reviews and broke many box office records, becoming the third highest-grossing film both in the United States and worldwide. For her performance, she was nominated for two Teen Choice Awards and three People's Choice Awards.[b] Later that year, Johansson portrayed actress Janet Leigh in Sacha Gervasi's Hitchcock, a behind-the-scenes drama about the making of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho. Roger Ebert opined that despite not physically resembling Leigh, she had conveyed her spunk, intelligence, and sense of humor.
Johansson played a supporting role in Jon Favreau's comedy-drama Chef (2014), alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Sofía Vergara. It grossed over $45million at the box office and was well received by critics. Richard Roeper found the film "funny, quirky and insightful, with a bounty of interesting supporting characters". In Luc Besson's science fiction action film Lucy (2014), Johansson played the eponymous character who gains psychokinetic abilities when a nootropic drug is absorbed into her bloodstream. Besson discussed the role with several actresses, and cast Johansson based on her strong reaction to the script and her discipline. Reviewers generally praised the film's themes, visuals, and Johansson's performance; some found the plot nonsensical. Jim Vejvoda of IGN credited the film's success to her acting and Besson's style. The film grossed $458million on a budget of $40million to become the 18th highest-grossing film of 2014.
Johansson played Motoko Kusanagi in Rupert Sanders's 2017 film adaptation of the Ghost in the Shell franchise. The film was praised for its visual style, acting, and cinematography, but was the subject of controversy for whitewashing the cast, particularly Johansson's character, a cyborg who was meant to hold the memories of a Japanese woman. Addressing the backlash, the actress insisted that she would never portray a non-white character but wanted to take the rare opportunity to star in a franchise with a female protagonist.Ghost in the Shell grossed $169.8million worldwide against a $110million budget. Johansson hosted Saturday Night Live in March 2017 for the fifth time, making her the 17th person, and the fourth woman,[c] to enter the NBC sketch comedy's prestigious Five-Timers Club. Her next 2017 film was the comedy Rough Night, in which she played Jess Thayer, one of five friends—alongside Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz—whose bachelorette party goes wrong after a male stripper dies. The film had a mixed critical reception and moderate box office returns. In 2018, Johansson voiced show dog Nutmeg in Wes Anderson's stop-motion animated film Isle of Dogs, released in March, and reprised her MCU role as Black Widow in Avengers: Infinity War, which followed the next month. Johansson was due to star in Rub & Tug, a biographical film in which she would have played Dante "Tex" Gill, a transgender man who operated a massage parlor and prostitution ring in the 1970s and 1980s. She dropped out of the project following backlash against the casting of a cisgender woman to play a transgender person.
Johansson released her debut album Anywhere I Lay My Head in May 2008. The album contains one original song and ten cover versions of Tom Waits songs, and features David Bowie and members from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Celebration. Reviews of the album were mixed.Spin was not particularly impressed with Johansson's singing. Some critics found it to be "surprisingly alluring", "a bravely eccentric selection", and "a brilliant album" with "ghostly magic".NME named the album the "23rd best album of 2008", and it peaked at number126 on the Billboard 200. Johansson started listening to Waits when she was 11 or 12 years old, and said of him, "His melodies are so beautiful, his voice is so distinct and I had my own way of doing Tom Waits songs."
In September 2009, Johansson and singer-songwriter Pete Yorn released a collaborative album, Break Up, inspired by Serge Gainsbourg's duets with Brigitte Bardot. The album reached number 41 in the US. In 2010, Steel Train released Terrible Thrills Vol.1, which includes their favorite female artists singing songs from their self-titled album. Johansson is the first artist on the album, singing "Bullet". Johansson sang "One Whole Hour" for the 2011 soundtrack of the documentary film Wretches & Jabberers (2010). and in 2012 sang on a J.Ralph track entitled "Before My Time" for the end credits of the climate documentary Chasing Ice (2012).
In February 2015, Johansson formed a band called the Singles with Este Haim from HAIM, Holly Miranda, Kendra Morris, and Julia Haltigan. The group's first single was called "Candy". Johansson was issued a cease and desist order from the lead singer of the Los Angeles-based rock band the Singles, demanding she stop using their name. In 2016, she performed "Trust in Me" for The Jungle Book soundtrack and "Set It All Free" and "I Don't Wanna" for Sing: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Johansson collaborated with Pete Yorn again on an EP titled Apart, released June 1, 2018.
Johansson has appeared in advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, L'Oréal, and Louis Vuitton, and has represented the Spanish brand Mango since 2009. Johansson was the first Hollywood celebrity to represent a champagne producer, appearing in advertisements for Moët & Chandon. In January 2014, the Israeli company SodaStream, which makes home-carbonation products, hired Johansson as its first global brand ambassador, a relationship that commenced with a television commercial during Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014. This sparked controversy, as SodaStream at that time operated a plant in Israeli-occupied territory in the West Bank.
Johansson has been called "ScarJo" by the media and fans. She dislikes being referred to as such, finding the nickname lazy, flippant and insulting. She has no social media as she does not see the need "to continuously share details of [her] everyday life."
Johansson has been labeled a sex symbol by various media outlets.The Sydney Morning Herald described her as "the embodiment of male fantasy". Woody Allen (who directed Johansson in Match Point, Scoop, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona) commented on her attractiveness, calling her "beautiful" and "sexually overwhelming". Journalist and film critic Anthony Lane wrote in 2014 that "she is evidently, and profitably, aware of her sultriness, and of how much, down to the last inch, it contributes to the contours of her reputation." Johansson has expressed her dislike of being sexualized, and maintains that a preoccupation with one's attractiveness does not last. She lost out on the lead role of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) because the film's director, David Fincher, found her "too sexy" for the part.
Johansson was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2004. In 2006, she appeared on Forbes'Celebrity 100, and again in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. Johansson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2012. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Forbes ranked her among the world's highest-paid actresses with annual earnings of $17million, $35.5million, and $25million, respectively. The magazine ranked her as the world's highest-paid actress in 2018 and 2019, with respective earnings of $40.5million and $56million. She was the highest-grossing actor of 2016, with a total of $1.2billion. As a result, IndieWire praised her for taking on risky roles. In 2019, The Hollywood Reporter listed her among the 100 most powerful people in entertainment. As of September 2019[update], her films have grossed over $5.2 billion in North America and over $14.3 billion worldwide, making Johansson the third-highest-grossing box-office star of all time both domestically and worldwide as well as the highest-grossing actress of all time in North America.
While attending Professional Children's School, Johansson dated classmate Jack Antonoff from 2001 to 2002. She dated her Black Dahlia co-star Josh Hartnett for about two years until the end of 2006. Hartnett said they broke up because their busy schedules kept them apart. Johansson began a relationship with actor Ryan Reynolds in 2007. The pair became engaged in May 2008 and married that September on Vancouver Island. They separated in December 2010 and divorced in July 2011.
Johansson began dating Frenchman Romain Dauriac, the owner of an advertising agency, in November 2012. They became engaged the following September. The couple divided their time between New York City and Paris. She gave birth to their daughter, Rose Dorothy Dauriac, in 2014. Johansson and Dauriac married that October in Philipsburg, Montana. They separated in mid-2016 and divorced in September 2017. Johansson began a relationship with Saturday Night Live co-head writer and Weekend Update co-host Colin Jost in May 2017. They were engaged in May 2019 and married in October 2020 in New York. Johansson resides in Palisades, New York, and Los Angeles as of October 2018[update].
Johansson has criticized the media for promoting an image that causes unhealthy diets and eating disorders among women. In an essay she wrote for The Huffington Post, she encouraged people to maintain a healthy body. She appeared nude on the cover of the March 2006 issue of Vanity Fair alongside actress Keira Knightley and fully clothed fashion designer Tom Ford. This sparked some controversy, as some believed the image demonstrated that women are forced to flaunt their sexuality more often than men. Nude pictures of Johansson hacked from her cell phone were leaked online in September 2011. She said the photos had been sent to her then-husband Ryan Reynolds three years before the incident. Following an FBI investigation, the hacker was arrested, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to ten years in prison. Johansson successfully sued French publisher JC Lattès in 2014 over defamatory statements about her relationships in the novel The First Thing We Look At by Grégoire Delacourt. She claimed $68,000, and was awarded $3,400.
Johansson has lent her support to various charitable organizations, including "Aid Still Required, Cancer Research UK, Stand Up To Cancer, Too Many Women" (which works against breast cancer), and "USA Harvest", which provides food for people in need. Johansson became a global ambassador for the aid and development agency Oxfam in 2005. She took part in the anti-poverty campaign ONE, which was organized by U2's lead singer Bono, in 2007. In March 2008, a UK-based bidder paid £20,000 on an eBay auction to benefit Oxfam, winning a hair and makeup treatment, a pair of tickets, and a chauffeured trip to accompany her on a 20-minute date to the world premiere of He's Just Not That into You.
Johansson resigned from her Oxfam position in January 2014 after criticism of her promotion of SodaStream, whose main factory was based in Mishor Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank; Oxfam opposes all trade with such Israeli settlements. Oxfam stated that it was thankful for her contributions in raising funds to fight poverty. Together with her Avengers costars, Johansson raised $500,000 for the victims of Hurricane Maria.
Three members of the Egyptian civil rights organization EIPR were released from prison in December 2020 after Johansson had described their detention circumstances and demanded the trio's release.
^She was nominated for Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Choice Summer Movie Star: Female, and People's Choice Awards for Favorite Movie Actress, Favorite On-Screen Chemistry (shared with Jeremy Renner) and Favorite Face of Heroism.