It’s no secret that Scarlett Johansson has been spending the better of the past few years taking on more physical roles than your average bear, but in her latest outing as Natasha Romanoff (A.K.A The Black Widow), she finds herself several months into her first pregnancy.
When news came of Johansson’s pregnancy, there was speculation that it could derail the production of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and guaranteed blockbuster. There was also concern that it could potentially change the content of the film (i.e., cutting down Johansson’s character to accommodate her pregnancy). In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, director of the film, Joss Whedon said this would not be the case:
We’re not avoiding any of the danger because the stuntwomen do the danger—as has always been the case. She’s very central to the movie and when we heard [about the pregnancy] we scheduled things around that. She’s not going to spend the whole movie carrying groceries. We didn’t trim any scenes. We’re like: We’ll make it work.
The solution? Well, the solution is so simple: Scarlett Johansson had multiple body doubles for her scenes. Of course, every actor has their stunt double, but Johansson has three, guaranteeing they can be utilized in the best shots possible to resemble Johansson’s body type. Each of these doubles also has a set of dots on their face, all in preparation of post-production, wherein Johansson’s face will digitally replace each of the doubles, a la the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network. The entire movie won’t be a digital replace, however. According to Mark Ruffalo, they will be using the oldest trick in the book: close-ups. As long as the shot is from the bust up, the audience won’t be able to tell if anyone’s pregnant, let alone Scarlett Johansson.
So between these two methods, the filmmakers won’t find themselves restricted in the shot they’re trying to take or the story they’re trying to tell. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, actor Robert Downey, Jr. thinks Scarlett Johansson’s pregnancy may have even raised morale and made filming smoother on the whole.
There’s the element of just God’s grace with Scarlett getting knocked up because that just civilized the whole thing right away. This is not going to be a massive grind. It’s not possible. We have to accommodate the latest news from headquarters, which is: “Oh my God, Scarlett Johansson is going to have a baby!”
It seems like Scarlett Johansson’s pregnancy is a prime example of how every so often, Hollywood can eat their cake and have it too. You can have the joys of a baby while avoiding the career sacrifice. Gotta love technology.