Scarlett Johansson and Woody Allen are teaming up again for “Scoop,” bringing with it the same “Woody’s Muse” questions that haunted her last winter. If Johansson was tired of the Muse talk back in December when “Match Point” opened to rave reviews, she’s even sicker of it now.
“Um, I think Muse is kind of a silly word that the media’s adopted, just a kind of darling word and if you say that to Woody, I think he would think it was strange,” Johansson insists.
She continues, “Certainly, I’m friends with Woody and working with him is kind of like going to summer camp. You spend a year away and it’s like, ‘Hey! There you are again’ and everything’s kind of as it was the summer before. So I hope that we can work together — I would be happy to work with Woody forever, for the rest of my career, only. I love working with him.”
So can we just put a stop to this? Johansson isn’t Woody’s new Diane Keaton or Mia Farrow, but she’d gladly work with him for the rest of her career. Is that so odd?
In “Scoop,” Johansson plays Sondra, a college student thrust into a London murder mystery by the ghost of a dead journalist (Ian McShane). Believing the lead suspect to be a handsome aristocrat (Hugh Jackman), Sondra begins snooping with a Borscht Belt magician (Allen).
“Woody doesn’t really do any rehearsal. It’s just like, ‘Oh, here’s the person you’re going to fall in love with’ and, of course, when it’s Hugh Jackman it’s not that hard,” she says.
Since Allen was only behind the camera on “Match Point,” this is the first time he’s shared the screen with Johansson.
“We were doing ‘Match Point’ and I so enjoy Woody’s company, and I said, ‘You know, it’d be great if we could have acted together, because there’s such a nice banter between us’ and he was like, ‘I know. I’ll think of something,’ ” she recalls. “And he thought of ‘Scoop,’ and ‘Scoop’ is very kind of our off-screen banter just photographed and somehow sort of molded into a screenplay.”
While her Golden Globe-nominated “Match Point” role called on her to be a vixen and a victim, a constant object of desire, Johansson has a different sort of part in “Scoop.” She’s less physically confident, less dangerous and, surprisingly, much funnier.
“She’s a great character to play,” she says. “She’s just this, what Woody would lovingly call ‘a twit’ and she’s kind of an idiot and she’s really ambitious, but totally out of it and obnoxious and all those things — lovable for some reason.”
As much as she learned from acting under Allen’s direction, Johansson sounds just as appreciative of her costar’s abilities as a comic.
“Woody improvises. He’s so great when he’s doing his thing. He can shoot one-liners at you like 100-miles-per-minute,” she gushes. “He’s amazing at that and he’s always saying things that are absolutely ridiculous, but of course, one of us has to be straight guy.”