Scarlett Johansson wants to make something clear. The majority of her character’s daring stunts in Captain America: The Winter Soldier were performed by her. Only the most dangerous were left to doubles.
‘It’s important people know that,’ she says. ‘If you just hand over to the experts when the going gets tough, I don’t think you are fully embracing the part.
‘I like doing the stunts. Oh, sure, it hurts sometimes. I came into work on Winter Soldier some days aching with bruises and bangs, and Samuel L. Jackson, my co-star, would say: “So why not just hand over that stuff to the experts, Scarlett, and save yourself from pain?”
Superhuman: Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanov, AKA Black Widow, in Captain America: Winter Soldier
‘I explained to him why I just couldn’t do that.
‘Please don’t think I’m stupid, though. I know my limitations. When Natasha, my character, has to bound 20ft in the air and do four cartwheels, it’s my stunt double Heidi Moneymaker who’s doing that.
‘But that woman hanging 60ft in the air, taking punches and throwing punches? Well, that’s me.
‘I’ve now done three films with the same stunt crew and I trust these guys with my life. That trust is essential when it comes to nailing the action sequences.’
Glamour: Scarlett looked stunning in red at the London premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier two weeks ago
Scarlett seems relieved to be shifting attention away from her looks and towards her actions.
Frequently in the public eye since her breakthrough role in Lost In Translation in 2003, the last few weeks have seen an unprecedented buzz about her body.
There were those nude scenes in Under The Skin, released last month, in which she played an alien seductress. Then came news that she was pregnant by her French fiancé Romain Dauriac, and the inevitable clamour to see if a baby bump could be spotted at premieres around the world.
So how did Scarlett wriggle into Natasha’s skin-tight leather onesie, which survives from the 2012 movie Avengers Assemble?
Hollywood scene: Scarlett with her Captain America co-stars Samuel L. Jackson (left) and Chris Evans (right) last month
‘By sticking to a kale-rich diet and being nice and patient when I’m being dressed for the day in wardrobe,’ she laughs.
‘Actually, it’s by no means the only item in Natasha’s wardrobe. We see her in civvies, too – no fuss, no fancy anything – and I sure felt more relaxed in those scenes. I’m not sure I feel entirely comfortable in the suit, with this “sexiest woman” thing that goes on.
‘Right now, it feels like a label – and maybe when I get older it will go away and be replaced by something else.
‘I understand that people want to keep the fantasy alive. I understand that people want to label you, or even put you on a pedestal.
‘It’s all part of a learning curve, getting used to that. But I do look forward to a time in my career when the parts I play don’t necessarily attract the kind of attention that the parts I play now do.
‘Many actresses take on their most challenging and interesting roles in their 30s and 40s – I’m looking forward to that time.’
The actress is also soon to appear in the Luc Besson-directed sc-fi thriller Lucy
The Winter Soldier sees Scarlett’s superhuman character doing her best to blend in with her surroundings. She’s attempting to flush out the baddies who are threatening to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D., the ultra-secret organisation that protects the world and of which Natasha Romanoff is a key part.
Scarlett says she has to eat a kale-rich diet to stay in shape
As one of the most famous movie faces in the world, Scarlett, 29, admits she struggles to ‘blend in’ herself, and that, for the moment at least, she has given up on any idea of leading a ‘normal’ life.
‘It seems to be what a lot of young actors and celebrities are desperate to do. I understand their desire — but once you become a recognisable person, someone who is no longer anonymous, I think you have to accept your fate.
‘Please don’t misunderstand me — I love being in the movies. I love being in films that do consistently well and are a big event for people to look forward to.
‘And once you accept that people are going to give you a double take, talk to you and single you out for attention, then it gets easier.
‘I live in New York and try to lead as normal a life there as I possibly can. I go to shops, I meet people, I go to movies, I go to the gym.
‘Being in New York, my home town, surrounded by my family and friends, keeps my feet firmly on the ground. Or at least it does,’ she chuckles, ‘when I’m not 40ft in the air performing a stunt as Natasha Romanoff!’
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in cinemas now.