With an album of Tom Waits covers recorded in the Louisiana swamps, Scarlett Johansson is bucking the trend for below par pop efforts
In the profit and loss columns of contemporary celebrity, what goes where is a question we could probably all make a fair stab at answering. Take the case of Scarlett Johansson.
Profit? Easy. The list would include the following: the $7m Los Angeles home she purchased last year with her huge film earnings; her status as both Hollywood royalty and funky indie-film darling; the fact that directors such as Woody Allen and Sofia Coppola beat a path to her agent; her 2006 coronation by an American magazine as “the sexiest woman alive”.And loss? Easy again, albeit tainted for many by a get-over-it, call-those-problems sneer. Into that column would go the privacy the 23-year-old has sacrificed, and which she guards fiercely. In, too, the poison she is powerless to prevent people spreading about her: that Tom Cruise allegedly tried to recruit her to Scientology in an audition for the role of wife No 3; that she and the actor Benicio del Toro had sex in a hotel elevator following the 2004 Oscars; that she’s slept her way to success. And the sense that, no matter how accomplished and natural Johansson’s performances in films such as Ghost World and Lost in Translation, Hollywood will indulge a commodifiable asset only so far: as if to say, okay, you go out and have your fun, just as long as you’re back in time to make movies as dire but marketable as The Nanny Diaries and The Other Boleyn Girl. You might, if you were feeling charitable, decide that the “sexiest woman alive” award belongs here too: in what way, other than in a dubious, profile-boosting sense, does it profit her? Yet how many of us, hand on heart, would linger over the negatives? She’s Scarlett Johansson, for heaven’s sake. What’s she got to worry about?...
Scarlett Johansson - Speed Painting by Nico Di Mattia