Q and A With… Scarlett Johansson-2008

The star of Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona talks about her latest sexy role… and unrequited love.

In Vicky Christina Barcelona, you play a sexually open young woman who ends up in a complicated romantic entanglement, and still doesn’t quite know what she wants. Do you identify with her?

I think that I can identify with certain aspects of her philosophy, her sort of “seize the day” attitude and her willingness to let life kind of happen in front of her and just take a chance. I think that's what I do, so I can certainly appreciate that part of her. But we have our differences as well. My character certainly has that philosophy that love needs to be a tumultuous, painful tug of war to be real. I don't think that I necessarily feel that way. It seems like it'd be exhausting to be that way!

So when you're looking into Javier Bardem's eyes during the love scene are you thinking, 'Boy, this is a good job'?

Oh, yeah, of course. 'And they pay me to do this?!' Yeah, it's great. Javier is so fantastic. He's so sweet and lovely and is such a great actor and of course it's very easy to looking dreamily, lovingly into his big brown eyes. It was an easy day’s work; I have no complaints!

Can you talk about your steamy scene with Penelope Cruz and Javier? In our society, a woman kissing a woman can still be a big deal. Maybe in Europe, not so much.
I love that we always use that. 'In Europe… ' It's so crazy. You'd think it was like colonial times. I don't understand it myself. Someone said to me earlier that this was sold as Woody Allen's steamiest film. I was like, 'Wait a minute. Woody Allen's steamiest film?' I mean, those words together are so ridiculous. From all the press that we got out of this one kiss or whatever you'd think that it was some crazy X-rated movie. It's ridiculous!

What do you think of the line in the film: Only unfulfilled love can be romantic?

No, of course, I've never strived for something that wasn't available. I think everybody wants to be full of love or full of someone else, being filled with love for them. I think the idea that only romance would come from something that was either unrequited or unavailable is sad. Also, I think the most romantic love is seeing people who have been together for so long or have known each other for so long, like two best friends or a husband and wife who've known each other for forty or fifty years and are still so excited to see that person come home. That might be rare, but that's the most romantic kind of love, I think.

Contributing entertainment editor Susan L. Hornik is based in Los Angeles.
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