Scarlett Johansson (GwaPE & LiT)

Variety, January 4, 2004
by Claude Brodesser

Usually, making career choices based solely on what brings pleasure has dire results in adult life. But Scarlett Johansson just wants to have a good time. She says it is the organizing principle for picking roles ("For me, I just try to think about what seems to be the most fun," she intones.) It also informs her newfound desire to become a director ("Working with actors would be so much fun").

So far, it is working. She is nominated for two lead actress Golden Globes --- for comedy ("Lost in Translation") and drama ("Girl With a Pearl Earring").

"Girl" director Peter Webber credits her astonishingly emotional yet near-silent perf in the film to the fact that "you can almost read what she's thinking in her eyes." But it's also her famously smoky voice and bee-stung lips that are getting the work out these days.

And while she's controversially being positioned as a supporting actress for "Lost" when it comes to the Oscars, Johansson remains unfazed. (Bill Murray appears on screen virtually the same amount of time and is being tub-thumped as a lead actor contender.)

"In this particular situation, with two films out," Johansson says of the split. "There's a political thing that goes into, well --- all of a sudden, there's a category."

It's not that the lessons of Hollywood realpolitik have been lost on this 19-year-old, it's just that she's not interested in being governed by them. She expresses a youthful, almost precocious confidence about her future. (She's set to appear next in the Weitz brothers' "Synergy.")

"Everybody thinks that women have evolved and that we have equality, and it's not true," she says of her desire to direct. "But I don't choose to make that a reality for myself. I haven't received advice about breaking into direction as a woman because I guess I just refuse to accept that it would ever be difficult for me for that reason."

Get ready: The girl with the pearl earring is making a grab for the brass ring.