Scarlett Johansson admits feeling hopeless about her career after losing a big role to Sandra Bullock. Having established herself as an actor in smaller movies like Ghost World, Lost in Translation and several Woody Allen projects, Johansson in the early 2010s began making her move to become an A-list star in blockbuster projects. Her big break of course came in 2010 when she starred as Black Widow in Iron Man 2, the role that launched her long run as a major figure in the massive MCU superhero franchise, turning her into a global superstar.
Johansson’s rise to worldwide fame did not come easily however, as she reveals in a new Variety profile, in which she talks about one of the big roles she pursued but missed out on: the lead in Alfonso Cuarón’s hit sci-fi/action movie Gravity. Johansson spoke about being devastated by losing the lead in Gravity to the aforementioned Bullock, at the same time she also thought she had lost Black Widow in Iron Man 2 to Emily Blunt. Check out what Johansson said in the space below:
“I got turned down for two roles — the first was ‘Iron Man 2’ and then the other one was Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity.’ I had wanted that role so much. It was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back. I felt really frustrated and hopeless. Like, ‘Am I doing the right job?’ The work I was being offered felt deeply unfulfilling. I think I was offered every Marilyn Monroe script ever. I was like, ‘Is this the end of the road creatively?’”
How Scarlett Johansson Bounced Back From Losing Gravity
Starring Bullock alongside George Clooney, Gravity indeed proved to be a massive hit, grossing $723 million at the worldwide box office and winning director Cuarón an Oscar while netting Bullock a Best Actress nomination. Johansson meanwhile saw her own fortunes take an upturn when, as luck would have it, Blunt dropped out of Iron Man 2, paving the way for Johansson to snap up the coveted role of Black Widow.
Johansson’s Black Widow may be only a secondary character in Iron Man 2, but she was memorable enough to earn a place in future MCU projects, including the world-shaking Avengers films, climaxing with The Avengers: Endgame in 2019. Then in 2021, despite already having been killed off in Endgame, Johansson’s Black Widow received her own long-awaited solo movie, which went on to gross $379 million at the box office amid COVID.
Missing out on Gravity seems to have been devastating for Johansson at the time, but she indeed bounced back well, launched to greater stardom by the MCU. But even her time at Disney was not all cheery for Johansson, as in 2021 she sued the studio for breach of contract over its simultaneous release of the film in theaters and on Disney+, a suit that was later settled. Ultimately, missing out on Gravity proved just a bump in the road for Johansson, as her career trajectory has gone steadily upward for decades, establishing her as one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. Later this year, she turns back the clock by appearing in a smaller, more prestigious film in Wes Anderson’s highly-anticipated Asteroid City.