Elle / September 2003
by Carlene Bauer

Offscreen, Scarlett Johansson's sandpapery voice is more cheerful than the withering drawl she employed in Ghost World, the film that heightened her profile among hipsters who missed her, at 13, in the three-hanky drama The Horse Whisperer. That lower register should keep the 18-year-old from wandering into love-interest land as she comes of age as an actress, beginning this fall. In Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, Johansson and Bill Murray play Tokyo tourists who tumble into an unlikely friendship; watching Johansson weather the mixed-up moods of impending adulthood is intensely pleasurable. And in Girl With a Pearl Earring - there's talk of an Oscar campaign - she plays muse to Colin Firth's Vermeer. We love Johansson because she is Girl, yet not Girl: Fire-breathers Sean Penn and Leonardo DiCaprio are her acting heroes, but she still thinks her mom rules. "She sort of manages me, but sometimes I manage her," Johansson says of her mother, who is coproducing her next big project: A Love Song for Bobby Long, which costars John Travolta. Considering she's never filmed anything with a soundtrack featuring Avril Lavigne, we think she'll manage leading ladyhood just fine.