Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” opens in theaters and with Disney+ Premier Access on Friday, July 9th, 2021. I was invited to the virtual press conference for the movie (and was able to join in during our trip to Paris). The cast and filmmakers participating were Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow); Florence Pugh (Yelena Belova); Rachel Weisz (Melina); David Harbour (Alexei Shostakov); O-T Fagbenle (Mason) along with director Cate Shortland and producer and Chief Creative Officer of Marvel) Kevin Feige. The moderator was Sarah Spain from ESPN.
There are some spoilers.
Spain questioned Feige about why he thinks fans have a “deeply rooted interest” in diving further into Natasha’s past. Feige answered, “Because Scarlett Johansson is an amazing performer and with each and every appearance you learned more, you saw more, and you wanted to know more. And the fact that we finally have an entire feature dedicated to that was very exciting for all of us.”
Spain asked Pugh what the first sequence she filmed with Johansson due to the “incredible chemistry” they shared. Pugh replied, “The first sequence that we shot was at the Budapest fight scene in a safe house. So that was my first week of shooting. And that was Scarlett’s second week of shooting”. She continued, “And so literally on my first day I was throwing Scarlett up against a wall, and she was smashing my face in the sink”. Johansson took over, “It was an ice breaker”. She said that that she was lucky that Pugh had a background in dance so she got the choreography right.
Spain turned the questioning to Weisz about her character Melina. “She’s unexpected, she’s complex, and she’s one of a literal army of women in this movie, some of which are good or evil, sometimes both at once. How meaningful is it to you to be in a film that’s got this complexity of female characters like Melina?” Weisz replied, “I love stories about women, directed by women. I love playing opposite women. But I really loved playing opposite the Red Guardian, Alexei as well, so I don’t want to leave him out… And yeah, just on the page I just thought she was a really unusual character. I loved her relationship with her pigs. And, you know, shooting that family scene where the family gets back together in Russia after 20 years was just completely a delightful thing. And we were upstaged by the pigs most days.”
About Black Widow:
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger. Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow, Florence Pugh stars as Yelena, David Harbour portrays Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz is Melina. Directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige, “Black Widow”—the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe— will launch simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access in most Disney+ markets on July 9, 2021.