Scarlett Johansson Recalls Feeling 'Frustrated And Hopeless' About Her Career After Initially Losing Iron Man 2 Role

Before Scarlett Johansson was introduced as the Black Widow in Iron Man 2, and she went on to become the highest-grossing actor ever, she was a hustling performer, who was starting to have doubts about her career. While this movie star is now one of the major powerhouses in Hollywood, before joining the MCU she was starting to feel “frustrated and hopeless” about her career, and she recently got candid about how she was feeling before she was cast as Natasha Romanoff. 

Following her breakout role in Lost in Translation, Johansson went on to play roles in movies like He’s Just Not That Into You and The Prestige, among others. However, she wasn’t the movie star we recognize her as today. While chatting with Variety, she mentioned that in the years leading up to Iron Man 2’s release in 2010, she was starting to feel “frustrated and hopeless,” especially after losing two big roles, which included the aforementioned MCU movie. 

I got turned down for two roles — the first was ‘Iron Man 2’ and then the other one was Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity.’ I had wanted that role so much. It was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back. I felt really frustrated and hopeless. Like, ‘Am I doing the right job?’ The work I was being offered felt deeply unfulfilling. I think I was offered every Marilyn Monroe script ever. I was like, ‘Is this the end of the road creatively?’

Originally, Emily Blunt was cast as the Black Widow in the Iron Man sequel, while Johansson had been denied the role. After the Edge of Tomorrow star dropped out of the movie because she was contractually obligated to shoot Gulliver’s Travels, the actor we’ve come to recognize as Black Widow was called back in. Following that movie, as you know if you’ve seen the Marvel movies in order, Johansson went on to star in eight more MCU projects, including her stand-alone film Black Widow in 2021. 

Reflecting back on her long career, and how joining the MCU impacted it, Johansson candidly explained how she felt about playing Natasha Romanoff at first, saying:

That movie wasn’t going to move the needle forward in terms of how my character was written, but there was potential for what it could be — a potential for growth in subsequent films.

And grow she did. Johansson has been open about why her Marvel contract worked so well, and in between MCU movies, she went on to star in other films which led to Oscar nominations, like A Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit. Over the course of the last decade, not only has she become the most bankable star, she's also a prestigious and renowned actress as well.

Now, Scarlett Johansson has officially bid farewell to Black Widow, and she won’t be appearing in any of Marvel’s upcoming movies. However, she does have many other projects in the works, including Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, which is on the 2023 movie schedule. While I know I’ll miss the actress playing Natasha Romanoff, we’ll always be able to go back and watch her as the kick-ass spy with a Disney+ subscription, and as she’s proven time and time again, she will always have a new project for us to look forward to. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso