Scarlett Johansson never stepped foot in a gym before ‘Iron Man 2’ role

Scarlett Johansson’s role as superhero Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow solidified her as a character staple throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The 37-year-old actress has appeared in nine MCU films, starting with her appearance in 2010’s “Iron Man 2.”

But Johansson divulged in a new profile for Vanity Fair that when she took on the role, she “had never stepped foot in a gym” before her intense training for the action flick.

The “Lost in Translation” actress also described her casting — at around age “23 or 24” — as “a humongous moment” for her.

“I had never stepped foot in a gym, and I had five weeks to prepare myself for these huge stunt sequences,” she explained.

“Back then when we were doing it, over a decade ago, it was before we kind of figured out how to be most efficient in the process of shooting stunt work – what could be handed off to other stunt people and what the actor would practically need to know,” she continued.

“So I was doing these huge choreographed sequences and I had no previous experience with any of that stuff. It was just a massive lifestyle change immediately upon getting cast,” the Oscar-nominated star said, adding that she wound up going to a “massive, huge, muscle meathead gym” in Los Angeles.

And the experience was apparently less than comfortable for her.

“I didn’t know how to use any of the equipment. I mean, I was so intimidated,” she said.

The actress has appeared in nine MCU films, starting with her appearance in 2010’s “Iron Man 2.”
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson as “Black Widow” in her 2021 standalone film.
Jay Maidment /© Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Johansson also discussed how she became “so protective” of both of her pregnancies while being in the spotlight. She shares a 7-year-old daughter, Rose, with ex-husband Romain Dauriac, and a son — Cosmo, born last August — with her current spouse, “Saturday Night Live” star Colin Jost.

“Obviously having children is the biggest life-changing thing. I have two children, [and] after having my daughter, it took me a long time to have that kind of new-beginning feeling,” she shared.

The “Marriage Story” star revealed that she went back to work “pretty quickly” after an intense “preoccupied phase” of bonding with Rose after she was born in 2014, which led to difficulties juggling her career and personal life.

HOLLYWOOD - APRIL 26: (L-R) Director/Executive Producer Jon Favreau, actor Robert Downey Jr., actress Scarlett Johansson and actor Samuel L. Jackson speak at the world wide premiere of "Iron Man 2" held at the El Capitan Theatre on April 26, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage)
Director and actor Jon Favreau joins stars Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson at the Hollywood premiere of “Iron Man 2.”
Michael Buckner

“I always felt like I was trying to keep up and create some sort of work-life balance, which I think is probably a lie,” she said.

“It wasn’t until my daughter was more independent of me, probably around 2, where I rediscovered myself,” Johansson continued. “I was like, ‘What is most important to me in my life?’ I felt like the work that I was doing and the choices that I was making personally should be intentional in a certain kind of way, where I didn’t want to feel like life was happening to me. I knew more what I didn’t want in my life and in my career. 

“[I didn’t want] to feel scrutinized in the public eye,” she said. “I wanted to be able to have my own feelings about my changing body without other people also telling me how they saw me, whether it was positive or negative.”

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Scarlett Johansson never stepped foot in a gym before ‘Iron Man 2’ role

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