At first glance, Scarlett Johansson’s character in “Iron Man 2″ is merely a low-level functionary within the mammoth corporate beast that is Stark Industries. Then we see her climb into the boxing ring opposite co-star (and franchise director) Jon Favreau and proceed to give him a serious (and seriously acrobatic) drubbing — Black Widow-style.
Turns out Johansson’s character, Natasha Romanoff, is working undercover to monitor Tony Stark himself, as well as his metal-suited alter ego, Iron Man. And that brief boxing-ring face-off is just the first instance in which the 25-year-old actress gets to kick some butt. What did it take to pull off those stunts? A whole lot of training and the determination to do as much on her own as possible.
“I’m the kind of audience member where you see any genre film like this, and you suspend your disbelief and go with the characters and then, suddenly, you see this whole fight sequence, and it’s the back of somebody’s head,” she told MTV News. “It’s like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of lame.’ I wanted to be able to have Jon use as much of my face as possible and really learn these sequences backwards and forwards.”
Johansson admitted that she was intimidated when she first discovered exactly what a kick-ass action sequence would require. “It was a bit daunting at first, especially when I was watching whatever Tom Harper, our stunt coordinator, had cut together, these sequences that he was planning and choreographing,” she said. “It was like, ‘I’m going to be doing that in how many months?’ It just seemed like it’d be really painful. And it was. It all paid off in the end.”
But it wasn’t just a matter of learning some creative kicks and punches. She also had to train hard enough to slip with ease into Black Widow’s skintight black bodysuit. At the end of production, she was not sad to leave that costume behind — even if she admitted she’s looking forward to the time when she’ll pull it on once again, either for “Iron Man 3″ or “The Avengers.”
“I think when I was finished, the last time I had to wear it, it was kind of like, ‘Goodbye, unitard. I will hopefully see you in 16 months,’ ” she said. “I was happy to not have to put it on again. It was actually much more comfortable than it looked, and it functioned very well, but who wants to wear the same thing every day?”
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