Johansson’s not an MBS fan.
Even before the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Scarlett Johansson reportedly suspected that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a repressive and morally corrupt national leader and rejected funding from him for her next film.
Unlike White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, or other Hollywood figures bin Salman met during a whirlwind U.S. trip in April, Johansson was not charmed by the young Middle East royal who has recently tried to present himself to the world as a reformer and globalist.
The actress still wasn’t charmed after learning that the 33-year-old crown prince wanted to fund her new film, which is directed by Ridley Scott and inwhich she would play Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario, The Guardian reported.
“Scarlett Johansson said absolutely not,” Addario said in a Facebook interview with Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times. “She said: ‘This guy is perpetuating the war in Yemen. He has women in prison.’ ” Addario added: “Thiswas before the killing of Khashoggi, when he became one of the main people who wanted to fund the movie.”
Bin Salman has recently been implicated in the death of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, who died in the Saudi embassy in Turkey after writing critically about bin Salman’s rule, The Guardian reported. Addario, the author of a new book, “Love and War,” said she suspected that the crown prince may have hoped for a public relations win by bankrolling a movie about a female journalist whose work focuses on global conflicts, including the effect they have on women.
“I didn’t meet with him personally,” Addario told Kristof. “But my sense is that he probably — my movie got folded into this huge charm campaign. And that fact that he wanted to show the west that he was into Hollywood, hewas into all the great things of the west… Do I want him associated with this movie? Obviously not. And thank God he’s not.”
Johansson’s upcoming film, originally set to be directed by Steven Spielberg, is based on Addario’s memoir, “It’s What I Do.”
Scarlett Johansson was approached by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about money for a movie, but she said no to his offer.