New York City Catching Scarlett Fever

NYNewsday.Com, January 14, 2004
By Liz Smith

A YOUNG ACTOR who is not surrendering her talent is the amazing Scarlett Johansson. Miss Scarlett is the "It" girl of the moment - and many more moments to come, no doubt. She has two Golden Globe nominations for best actress, one for Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" and another for "Girl With the Pearl Earring."

At the Palm Springs Film Festival last week, Scarlett picked up the Rising Star Award. But the reality of her success - those two GG nominations - hasn't quite sunk in. "It's all surreal. It's a very strange feeling," she said. "I don't know that I'll actually realize it till I get there, maybe while I'm having my hair and makeup done!"

Having led us right to the issue of most importance - the glamour trappings of awards shows - what will Scarlett wear on her big night? "It's long and shiny ... No! I can't tell. It's got to be a surprise." The star admits that though she loves to shop ("It's fun, it's feminine!"), and she allows her stylist to filter through the nonstop offers from designers who want her to wear their clothes Jan. 25.

Of far more interest to Scarlett right now is her new apartment in Hollywood. Her father, who is an architect, is helping her fix it up. "Just this week, all I've done is sit on toilets, lay in bathtubs, turn on sinks." (This girl is close to both her parents. She refers to her mother as "my rock ... an amazing woman." And with her first big money, she bought her dad a motorcycle!)

Now 19, Scarlett's been a working actress since age 9 and has always had a clear outlook on her career. "When I was 15, I'd go out for a role requiring a 17-year-old, and they'd want somebody 24. It was a difficult period. I did not want to do teen-slay movies. So I figured, it wasn't like I was supporting my family; I was still in high school. Why not just stay in school, do the movies I want to do, wait until the time is right. I didn't feel pressure to do things that were just thrown in front of me." Smart girl!

Is this New York-born beauty dating? On and off. She's busy! But she is mulling, "Do I date an actor or a regular guy? Dating an actor seems really convenient, because you both understand the lifestyle ... but I don't know."

Somehow, I think Miss Scarlett - as self-determined as Margaret Mitchell's same-named heroine - will figure it out.