Scarlett Johansson can’t really speak Russian, but Natasha Romanoff, her character in The Avengers can. So how does a celeb manage to cover a situation like that? How does she manage to sound like a real Russian spy? Hollywood has several tricks, but mostly, indicates ScarJo, it’s just plain hard work. “I had two days, so I had to learn it phonetically. I knew what I was saying but I had to be able to pronounce it and breathe some life into the lines so that it didn’t sound like I was repeating some Berlitz (language learning) tape,” the actress says and India Glitz reports.
Scarlett Johansson sounds great in the movie, shouting dialog into a cell phone crunched between her shoulder and her ear, while tied to a chair. Naturally, she subdues a few bad guys in the process, before slipping back into her high heels. But the Russian dialog was a sticky spot. An agent under stress would not speak stilted Russian.
“We hired this great Russian translator,” Scarlett Johansson says, “and she worked with the dialogue coach. She was really expressive, which helped, so my mouth found the words in a way that didn’t just sound like I was a parrot.”
The action film, which is breaking attendance records all over, requires a lot of effort from all the actors. It’s one fight after another, and Scarlett Johansson holds her own. No word yet what native Russians think of her performance, but it sounds pretty good to everyone else.