The Widow bites back... and this time it’s war

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy by Maarten de Boer Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War opens on 29 April.

One of the big­gest stars in sci- fi ( true dat!) on her lat­est out­ing as Black Widow.

Team Steve? Team Tony? Don’t be so bi­nary, peo­ple. Here at SFX we know the truly smart money’s on Team Natasha. “I re­ally can’t think of any other op­por­tu­nity where I would have the chance to grow with the char­ac­ter as I have,” says Scar­lett Jo­hann­son, re­turn­ing for a fifth turn as the lethal Black Widow in Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War. A lu­mi­nous, com­pelling screen pres­ence with the ta­lent and bank­a­bil­ity to topline block­busters and art films alike, Jo­hans­son’s emerged as the fe­male cor­ner­stone of the Mar­vel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse since she first un­leashed the Widow’s stingers in Iron Man 2. It’s a role she clearly rel­ishes. “She has a greater call­ing and I think that’s what makes this char­ac­ter re­ally heroic. She dug her heels in and did not go down the road that would be per­son­ally more de­sir­able, to dis­ap­pear and live off the map and have what every­body wants. In this film we re­ally see her move closer to a lead­er­ship po­si­tion.”

How does Natasha choose a side in this con­flict?

Natasha doesn’t take things per­son­ally and isn’t re­ally about tak­ing sides per se. I don’t think she re­ally sees things quite so black and white. She likes to live in that grey area. While it’s painful on one hand, she’s gone in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion and is be­ing strate­gic about her choices. She sees that Steve’s tak­ing things per­son­ally and she knows the dan­ger of that. Ini­tially she goes with the path of least re­sis­tance but she starts to see how it be­comes this deep, per­sonal fric­tion be­tween both sides. She re­alises that she has to take a dif­fer­ent strat­egy but I don’t think that she ever as­sumes that Steve will come over to her way of think­ing. What’s Natasha’s re­la­tion­ship with Tony Stark?

Natasha is a bit torn in her re­la­tion­ship with Tony. I think she re­ally sees Tony very clearly and sees his weak­nesses as be­ing a dan­ger for the team. That kind of haz­ard that we’ve seen in the past films is very real and in­volves a lot of ca­su­al­ties. Tony is very emo­tional and that’s scary for Natasha, es­pe­cially when you’re talk­ing about the num­ber of lives that are at stake and th­ese huge, life- chang­ing de­ci­sions this team is re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing. I think Tony is re­ally a lost cause for Natasha. I don’t think that they re­ally have a re­la­tion­ship where she can rea­son with him. I don’t know if any­body can. She sees Tony as an ob­sta­cle that re­ally needs to be dealt with ac­cord­ingly. How was it shoot­ing the big fight scene?

It was pretty sur­real hav­ing that face- off with every­body. There have been a few mo­ments in th­ese films where you look around and re­alise you’re in good com­pany. You’ve got your cos­tume on and you’re ready to kick some booty. I re­mem­ber do­ing the first Avengers and all of us get­ting to­gether in the cir­cle and hav­ing our hero mo­ment and again in Avengers 2. This scene felt like that kind of epic mo­ment where you know this is re­ally big. This movie in­tro­duces us to the Black Pan­ther. How has it been work­ing with Chad­wick Bose­man?

I’ve got­ten to do a cou­ple of scenes with Chad­wick, and they’ve been great. He’s such a soul­ful ac­tor and so pro­fes­sional, so present. He re­ally gives so much to the other per­son. As the uni­verse grows and ex­pands, Mar­vel is so con­sis­tent at cherry- pick­ing such fine ac­tors to bring onto the team. He’s added to this group im­mensely. You have a new cos­tume this time around…

This time around we gave her a sleeker uni­form look. It’s a lit­tle bit closer to the ac­tual comics, which I think the fans will like. There’s some­thing about it that’s kind of ba­sic and I like that. But I don’t re­ally wear my suit that much in this movie. I’m more in my reg­u­lar civil­ian cloth­ing. Do you en­joy the more grounded as­pect of Natasha?

I think that it’s just a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence. I like what comes with the civil­ian look. It’s a lot of hand- to- hand com­bat and some gun­play, which is al­ways cool. It’s kind of like a hy­per- re­al­is­tic form of fight­ing with the suit on. It looks dif­fer­ent. It’s a dif­fer­ent feel­ing. But no mat­ter what makes th­ese movies work, whether I’m in the suit or in the civil­ian clothes, whether it’s Natasha or Black Widow, the idea is that th­ese char­ac­ters can still main­tain the dy­nam­ics of their re­la­tion­ships with all the other char­ac­ters and it’s sort of seam­less. What will au­di­ences con­nect to in Civil War?

I think that the con­flict be­tween both sides is what will start the con­ver­sa­tion amongst fans and au­di­ence mem­bers. When they leave the theatre, they can hope­fully still ar­gue for ei­ther side. It will give them some­thing to take home!

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