Biography
Scarlett Johansson was born on 22 November 1984 in New York, New York (USA). She was raised along with her twin brother as the youngest of four children, and she developed an interest in acting at the age of three. Johansson first came to attention playing the daughter of Sean Connery and Kate Capshaw terrorized by Blair Underwood in "Just Cause" (1995). Having made her stage debut at age eight in 1993's "Sophistry" at Playwrights Horizons Theatre, the young player also studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute. Her screen debut in Rob Reiner's disastrous "North" (1994) was less than memorable, but Johansson has maintained an even career, impressing with her fully-realized characterizations in nearly every showing.

She got noticed as one of Eric Schaeffer's wise charges in "If Lucy Fell" and took a co-starring role in the understated independent "Manny & Lo" (both 1996), a perfect vehicle for the actress to prove her talents. Johansson's finely crafted portrayal of Amanda (Manny), a rather sensible 11-year-old who escapes from a foster home and runs away with her 16-year old sister Laurel (Lo) earned her critical praise and led directly to her casting in the high profile but disappointing 1997 release "Home Alone 3" and the highly-anticipated romance "The Horse Whisperer" (1998). In the latter, Johansson landed the coveted role of Grace, a youngster who suffers a physically and emotionally debilitating riding accident. When her mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) turns to a horse trainer (Robert Redford) for assistance, romance blooms, and as Johansson turned what could have been little more than a two-dimensional plot device into a full-fledged character, an actress bloomed.

All but disappearing after this film-saving turn, the performer resurfaced three years later in the independent favorite "Ghost World" (2001), starring alongside Thora Birch as the more pragmatic of two best friends who have just graduated from high school and are making plans for the future amidst their own adventures, both real and invented. Snarky but somehow sweet, her Rebecca didn't get the screen time and controversial storyline of compatriot Enid (Birch) but nonetheless impressed in her smaller role. Later that year, she played a young Hungarian girl left behind when her refugee family flees their homeland in a Cold War political climate in "An American Rhapsody" and earned even more indie cred as a piano-playing teenager who catches the attention of a crafty barber (Billy Bob Thornton) in the Coen brothers' acclaimed period noir "The Man Who Wasn't There".

Taking a break from this more heady material, Scarlett Johansson would next battle giant spiders in the sci-fi comedy "Arac Attack". Despite this brief detour into camp with the 2002 giant spider fiasco, the respect Johansson had gained in the film industry as a result of her previous dramatic roles found the young actress in high demand among indie directors while quickly catching the eye of the Hollywood elite. With Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" (2003), Johansson's touching performance as a young girl who strikes a tentative friendship with a washed up American actor (memorably portrayed by Bill Murray) while staying in Japan left no doubts regarding her dramatic skills in the eyes of many, and the rising starlet was soon cast in the lead of such subsequent films as "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" (2003) and "The Perfect Score" (2004).
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Action films bore me, says 'Lucy' director Luc Besson
By Edward Baran LONDON - French director Luc Besson's new film, "Lucy", about a woman who ingests a drug that gives her supernormal mental powers, says action films bore him - but his movie still has a spectacular car chase through Paris. Besson, whose other sci-fi hit, "The Fifth Element" (1997), starred Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich, has turned to the versatile Scarlett Johansson to play the Lucy of the title.
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