Scarlett Johansson Says She's 'Rejected Constantly' in Her Career: I'm the 'Second Choice'

Hollywood hasn’t always been sweet to Scarlett Johansson.

The Oscar-nominated actress began her career at a young age, picking up small roles as a preteen in films like Home Alone 3 and The Horse Whisperer alongside Robert Redford — but in a new interview with Parade, Johansson, 35, says: “Since a very young age, I’ve been rejected constantly.”

One of the opportunities Johansson almost didn’t get is her now iconic role as Avenger Black Widow in the Marvel films.

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Emily Blunt was originally set to play the assassin-turned-crime fighter in 2010’s Iron Man 2 but had to leave the project due to scheduling conflicts with a different film.

After a “wonderful” meeting with Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau, Johnasson recalls, “I was really excited to work with him, so I said, ‘If this doesn’t work out, I’m an actor for hire, so call me anytime.’”

Needless to say, she snagged the part.

Jay Maidment/Marvel/Walt Disney/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

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“The best call you can receive is after you are rejected for something and then you get it,” Johansson says. “You appreciate it more. I’ve basically made a career out of being second choice.”

Johansson gets her first solo film as Natasha Romanoff in Black Widow, which pushed its May 1 release date to the fall due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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The film follows Natasha as she revisits her mysterious, painful past and features Marvel newcomers David Harbour, Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz as fellow spies.

“It’s a film very much about self-forgiveness and accepting decisions that were made for you,” Johansson tells Parade. It’s much deeper than anything we could have done earlier.”