Scarlett Johansson Can Relate to Her 'Marriage Story' Role of a Woman Going Through a Divorce
By Rachel McRady
Scarlett Johansson knew instantly that she wanted to play Nicole in Netflix's upcoming divorce drama, Marriage Story. The 34-year-old actress, who has been divorced twice, opens up about connecting with the material in Elle's Women in Hollywood issue.
“It felt familiar somehow, but not because of what I’d been experiencing then,” Johansson, who was in the middle of her divorce from Romain Dauriac when she read the script, tells the magazine. “But maybe because of how I grew up, and the dynamic between my parents—or maybe because I’ve known women who’ve dedicated themselves to their partner’s vision and then come out of this decade-long relationship feeling almost like a ghost.”
The Elle writer says that Johansson, who was previously married to actor Ryan Reynolds in addition to Dauriac, noted that she too "has been in that place."
But it was the dialogue and the story that really drove Johansson to the project.
“I didn’t hesitate at all, because I knew that I’d have the opportunity to say those words,” she explains. “Noah [Baumbach, the director and writer] gave me that monologue, and I was like, ‘Well, s**t, come on.’ Am I going to be like, ‘Nah, I’m good — let some other actor have that’? No way.”
The film also allowed her to tackle new on-screen territory -- playing a mother.
“It’s funny, because I had never played a mother before, and now suddenly I have two films back to back where I have children who are, like, eight or nine years old," the mother of 5-year-old daughter, Rose, notes. "Actors get to wherever they need to go whether or not they’ve lived it, but [these roles] had a deeper resonance with me because of my own personal experience.”
And as Marriage Story's Dec. 6 release approaches, Johansson is in the weird position of promoting a story of divorce while preparing for her own wedding to fiance Colin Jost.
“My ability to compartmentalize comes in handy when it’s time for things like that,” she says of the contrast. “I’m certainly, obviously, very happy and fulfilled in my personal life, but I’m also a sum of many parts, and able to access different parts of my story and how I got here. It’s all valuable.”