New York Times, June 10, 2004
By Joyce Wadler
SCARLETT JOHANSSON was flogging a new perfume at a Greenwich Village hotel the other day. Normally, we avoid affairs that reek of commercialism, feeling it is journalistically inappropriate to serve ourselves up as a willing cog in the marketing scheme, exchanging a short chat with an ingénue for mention of a new product . (CALVIN KLEIN's "Eternity Moment.'') (Oh yeah, and the party was on the rooftop of the Hotel Gansevoort. )
But showbiz reporting demandssome flexibility, and there have been stories of Ms. Johansson, who is but 19, as a frisky little thing, so we sent out our most senior Boldface reporter, for his objective report:
"Ms. Johansson gave us her full attention,'' he reported, after making note of her low-cut and clingy black Calvin Klein dress and her boxy mirrored clutch bag. "She angled her face directly toward us, enabling us to get the full effect of her huge blue sparkling eyes, reflecting the moonlight and the white light from the tower of the MetLife building a few blocks away: FAYE DUNAWAY cheekbones, perfect skin with a beauty mark nose-tip level on her right cheek. Add the just-glossed lips, the bursting cleavage, and - ''
(Excuse us. Instant Message From a Columbia J-School Young'un: Your reporter seems to have become intoxicated by the subject. Has this sort of thing ever happened before at a serious newspaper? Our Reply: Never! Oh, O.K., maybe once or twice at The Washington Post. Now back to our gripping narrative.)
The tabloids had a field day with stories of Ms. Johansson making out with BENICIO DEL TORO in an elevator in the Chateau Marmont some time back; there were video screens flashing Ms. Johansson in a commercial for Eternity Moment in the hotel elevator, kissing TRENT FORD, frolicking with him in a bed; our besotted reporter had just gotten out of an elevator, so there was but one subject: SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS.
"I'm a huge, huge fan of the show,'' said Ms. Johansson, who is starring in the animated film version of the TV show, scheduled for release in late fall. "My mom'' - her mom is also her manager - "said, 'Well, there is this thing called SpongeBob. And I said, SpongeBob Squarepants! Yes! Yes! Yes! I play a character called Mindy. She's very sweet and she always does the right thing.''
Time to fast forward: Ask her about working with all these legends, ROBERT REDFORD, JOHN TRAVOLTA, BILL MURRAY, and she's "constantly impressed and in awe," blah blah blah. Doing "Black Dahlia" this summer: "Amazing script,'' blah blah. Oh, well, at least she hasn't told us she wants to direct. "I try to do all different kinds of stuff. I would like to direct as soon as possible.''
Enough small talk. What about those printed reports of sexual encounters. In the elevator or whatever it was with Mr. Del Toro, after the Oscars? A story in Page Six about her kissing TARA SUBKOFF, the designer for Imitation of Christ, at a bar.
"That's ridiculous,'' Ms. Johansson said. "Tara is one of my best friends. We were really disappointed with that. It has nothing to do with any of that. It's just absurd.''