EW You’ve played tough women before, but as Barbara, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s no-nonsense New Jersey girlfriend in Don Jon, you have a very different swagger.
Johansson It was great to finally utilize my experience growing up in New York City and knowing those Jersey girls, you know? She’s that kind of girl who is perfectly manicured and really a class act. A girl you want to bring home to your mother.
EW There’s no mistaking that accent.
Johansson The accent represents that community, like, ”So what? I’m a loud Jersey girl. You got somethin’ to say about it?” There’s a bit of a loud, entitled sound to it. There is also a certain kind of warmth and openness.
EW An authenticity?
Johansson Exactly. Barbara is who she is. Unapologetically so.
EW The movie doesn’t flinch from the title character’s obsession with porn, which freaks out Barbara. But she is just as preoccupied with the fantasy of big-screen rom-coms.
Johansson We can very easily disappear into these worlds, these fantasy worlds, living vicariously through them. They set the bar for the expectations in our personal lives. She feels like the movies and stories she’s so wrapped up in really deserve to happen to her: ”It’s happening up there on screen — why isn’t it happening to me?”
EW Since she’s such a movie fan, what would Barbara think of the actress Scarlett Johansson?
Johansson Oh, man. [Laughs] I don’t know if she’d have seen any of my movies! She would have to be dragged to a superhero movie. But she’d be admiring my catsuit, I guess.
EW She’d watch The Avengers rooting for Captain America and Black Widow to kiss already.
Johansson Right! She’d be wanting more romance.