Scarlett Johansson, who has been acting for 16 years despite being just 25 years old, is accustomed to having cameras follow her. However, despite her illustrious film career that includes prominent roles in movies such as “Lost in Translation,” “Match Point,” “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” and “Ghost World,” she has yet to act in front of a live theater audience. While many actors have dabbled in theater, Johansson fell in love with film acting and has not looked back since her elementary school production of “Oliver!” Her latest role, as Catherine in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge,” marks her return to the stage after all these years. Johansson believes that it is the right time for her to take on this challenging role.
Instead of dismissing the transition with a cliché phrase, Johansson expresses that the experience of moving from film to stage has been both exhilarating and terrifying. She has found it challenging and rewarding, and believes that despite her achievements, she is still growing as an actor. A defining moment occurred during rehearsals for Arthur Miller’s play about romantic tensions in an Italian immigrant household when Johansson found herself acting alone on stage, despite being in the presence of other actors. During weeks of practice, Johansson had been playing opposite Santino Fontana as Rodolpho, a pivotal role in Miller’s 1955 play. Rodolpho is the man who sweeps 17-year-old Catherine off her feet and out of the clutches of her overprotective uncle, Eddie, played by Liev Schreiber. However, just days before the play’s premiere at the Cort Theatre, Schreiber accidentally threw Fontana too hard during a preview performance, causing Fontana to suffer a whiplash concussion that forced him to leave the show.
Johansson reflects on her experience acting alongside the understudy of her co-star in a theater production. Although the replacement actor was different from the original, Johansson admits that she did not adjust her performance accordingly and felt disappointed with her lack of truthfulness. However, this experience helped her become a better stage actress. Johansson’s breakthrough role in “Lost in Translation” transformed her career as she worked with distinctive filmmakers and avoided big-budget movies. She had previously wanted to adapt “A View From the Bridge” for the screen but was approached to play a 17-year-old in a theater production directed by Gregory Mosher. Initially, Johansson believed she was too old for the role but eventually accepted it and believes that her distance from adolescence has brought a more meaningful and informed perspective.