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Scarlett Johansson hits the Broadway boards

January 30, 2010 | 11:00 am


Scarlett Johansson started acting early — although she’s just 25 years old, her performing career already spans 16 years — and knows the usual drill. “I’m really used to a camera following me,” she says. Yet for all of her movie work — “Lost in Translation,” “Match Point,” “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” “Ghost World,” to name a handful of her prominent roles — Johansson has never acted for something far less forgiving than 35mm film: a live theater audience.

Many actors have peppered their performing credits with the occasional theater gig: a summer stock show here, maybe a regional musical there. But Johansson started film acting, fell in love with it — “It’s all I know,” she says — and never left. By her recollection, the last play she performed in was an elementary school production of “Oliver!”

Her subsequent stage role is a little bit bigger: Catherine, the center of a tragic, sexualized battle in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge.” Says the actress in her backstage dressing room a few days before the show opened Jan. 24 to largely positive reviews: “It felt like it was a good time for me.”

Rather than shrug off the transition with the “acting is acting” line, Johansson says the move has been alternately thrilling and terrifying, challenging and rewarding, and — at times — has made her appreciate that for all of her accomplishments, she is still growing as an actor. It was a point driven home as the play was in previews, when Johansson found herself acting alone — even though she was sharing the stage at the time.

For John's Horn in-depth Arts & Books section account of how she prepared for the role, click here.

Photo: Scarlett Johansson. Credit: Peter Foley / EPA