What Scarlett Johansson Has Said About Actors Making Political Remarks

Scarlett Johansson has said that actors should not feel obliged to play a public role in society and suggested politics is not her job in a new interview published on Saturday.

The Academy Award nominee told U.K. magazine The Gentlewoman that, while she had made a career out of courting controversy, actors should not feel the need to express their political views in public.

One of Johansson's most popular roles is as spy Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film franchise. She first played the role in 2010's Iron Man 2 and won critical acclaim.

"I don't think actors have obligations to have a public role in society," Johansson told The Gentlewoman.

"Some people want to, but the idea that you're obligated to because you're in the public eye is unfair.

"You didn't choose to be a politician, you're an actor. Your job is to reflect our experience to ourselves; your job is to be a mirror for an audience, to be able to have an empathetic experience through art. That is what your job is.

"Whatever my political views are, all that stuff, I feel most successful when people can sit in a theatre or at home and disappear into a story or a performance and see pieces of themselves, or are able to connect with themselves through this experience of watching this performance or story or interaction between actors or whatever it is."

"And they're affected by it and they're thinking about it, and they feel something. You know? They have an emotional reaction to it – good, bad, uncomfortable, validating, whatever. That's my job. The other stuff is not my job," Johansson said.

Johansson was asked about the controversies that have sometimes featured throughout her public life. These have included criticism for her role in Ghost in the Shell, where some charged an Asian actor should have been cast, and her initial decision to play a transgender character in Rub and Tug. She later dropped out of the project.

"I've made a career out of it," Johansson said of controversy.

"Black Widow" Star Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson attends the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 08, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. Johansson has downplayed her political views. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In Johansson's latest film, Black Widow, due for release in the U.S. in July, she plays the eponymous Marvel character once again. The movie that will also feature Florence Pugh, Ray Winstone and Rachel Weisz, among others.

The movie's director, Cate Shortland, praised Johansson in comments to The Gentlewoman.

"She really pushed to make something that wasn't flimsy or superficial," Shortland said.

"She wanted to make something that meant a lot to young people and to women. And she knew it was possibly her last film as Black Widow – she didn't want to leave Marvel making a feel-good movie."