Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman bonded when they filmed alongside each other not too long ago. The collaboration was particularly helpful for Portman, who Johansson showed how to be a bit more comfortable with confrontations.
Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman worked together on ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’
Johansson and Portman first collaborated in the 2008 movie The Other Boleyn Girl. The movie was a historical romance film where Johansson and Portman played sisters both vying for the love and attention of a king. For Portman, Johansson was what drew her to the film in the first place.
“I read the script and loved it and came on as Anne. I said I only want to do it if Scarlett does it. I had watched her for so long, since we were kids, and she’s so true always, and so good. Like Scarlett was saying, you just never get the chance to work with someone your own age that you so admire. It was such a great, great chance,” Portman once said in an interview with Cinemablend.
Likewise, Johansson joined the project because of the Black Swan star’s involvement.
“A major part of why I joined the project, is because Natalie was involved. I’ve been a huge fan of Natalie’s for a long time, and I’ve always loved her choices and her performances. I’d never had the opportunity to work on such an even playing field with my peer. It was a great opportunity for both of us I think,” Johansson added.
Scarlett Johansson once showed Natalie Portman how to get over her fear of confrontation
For the two actors, working together was everything they hoped it would be. Portman shared that it was a dream collaborating with the Black Widow actor on set.
“It was really, really one of my best, if not the best, acting experience opposite someone my age,” Portman said.
Likewise, Johansson had similarly kind words for Portman.
“It was a real learning experience.. We were in these costumes which immediately separate you. You’re in this garb, and it separates you from the guy eating the salami sandwich reloading the camera. It was so important for us to maintain the connection, even in-between shooting. It was hard work, but it paid off hugely,” she said.
Speaking to W magazine, Portman also benefitted from her collaboration with Johansson by learning to be more assertive.
“Natalie would be uncomfortable in her costume and not say anything,” Johansson recalled. “She’d tell me, ‘My rib is killing me.’ I’d be like, ‘Natalie, why don’t you say something?’ I’d have to be like, ‘Hellooo, someone, Natalie’s rib is hurting! Can you fix her zipper?’”
Portman also agreed that, at the time, she wasn’t an actor who wanted to ruffle too many feathers.
“My avoidance is a bit much. As an actor, you have to respect your position and know that you are fulfilling someone else’s vision,” Portman said. “Mike Nichols always quotes Mamet’s line: ‘Film is a collaborative business: bend over.’”
What Natalie Portman admired about Scarlett Johansson
Apart from admiring Johansson’s acting abilities, Portman also shared how much she admired Johansson as a person. Particularly, it was Johansson’s outspoken nature that the Thor actor was a fan of.
“It’s impressive because a lot of women, and I am among them, will be very careful. I might be like, ‘this might sound stupid but is this what they would do in the scene?’ She’s not like that at all. She’s very direct. Very opinionated and that was inspiring to be around too because I tend to be a lot more timid,” Portman once said in an interview with Girl.