Johansson began acting during childhood, after her mother started taking her to auditions. She made her professional acting debut at the age of eight in the off-Broadway production of “Sophistry” with Ethan Hawke, at New York’s Playwrights Horizons. She would audition for commercials but took rejection so hard her mother began limiting her to film tryouts. She made her film debut at the age of nine, as John Ritter’s character’s daughter in the fantasy comedy North (1994). Following minor roles in Just Cause (1995), as the daughter of Sean Connery and Kate Capshaw’s character, and If Lucy Fell (1996), she played the role of Amanda in Manny & Lo (1996). Her performance in Manny & Lo garnered a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female, and positive reviews, one noting, “[the film] grows on you, largely because of the charm of … Scarlett Johansson”, while San Francisco Chronicle critic Mick LaSalle commentated on her “peaceful aura”, and wrote, “If she can get through puberty with that aura undisturbed, she could become an important actress.”
In 2006, Johansson sang the track “Summertime” for Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars, a non-profit collection of songs recorded by Hollywood actors. She performed with the Jesus and Mary Chain for a Coachella reunion show in Indio, California, in April 2007.The following year, Johansson appeared as the leading lady in Justin Timberlake’s music video, for “What Goes Around… Comes Around”, which was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year.
In May 2008, Johansson released her debut album Anywhere I Lay My Head, which consists of one original song and ten cover versions of Tom Waits songs, and features David Bowie and members from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Celebration.
Reviews of the album were mixed.
Spin was not particularly impressed with Johansson’s singing. Some critics found it to be “surprisingly alluring”, “a bravely eccentric selection”, and “a brilliant album” with “ghostly magic”.
NME named the album the “23rd best album of 2008”, and it peaked at number 126 on the Billboard 200.
Johansson started listening to Waits when she was 11 or 12 years old, and said of him, “His melodies are so beautiful, his voice is so distinct and I had my own way of doing Tom Waits songs.”
Scarlett Johansson was born in New York City on November 22, 1984. She began acting as a child, and her role in the movie The Horse Whisperer brought her critical acclaim at age 13. Her subsequent successes include Lost in Translation, Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Nanny Diaries, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Hitchcock and the mega-hit The Avengers. Exploring other artistic avenues, Johansson released her first album in 2008 and the next year she made her Broadway debut. Following her contributions to Ghost in the Shell, Rough Night, Isle of Dogs and Avengers: Endgame, Johansson garnered Oscar nominations for her roles in Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit.