Scarlett Johansson graces the December 2011 cover of ‘Interview’ magazine. Inside, the beautiful 27-year-old actress talks to Arianna Huffington about a wide range of topics including politics, campaigning for Obama, social networking, the Occupy Wall Street movement, traveling to Kenya and Somalia with Oxfam, but also about her new films ‘Under the Skin’ and ‘We Bought a Zoo’. Speaking about the latter, Scarlett says that, “It’s based on a true story about this guy called Benjamin Mee, who, in a time of deep personal crisis, saw an opportunity to be selfless and built this zoo by creating a sanctuary for these animals in need. Cameron is so collaborative and inviting—and not just with the actors, but with everyone. So he did a beautiful job of highlighting the humanity of this group of people banding together to build a kind of oasis. It’ll be a very positive experience for audiences—certainly, making the movie was one for me.”
Scarlett has traveled to Kenya and Somalia with Oxfam to assist with the relief effort in the wake of a severe drought in East Africa. “You read statistics all the time like, ’13 million people are at risk because of the severe drought in East Africa,’ but I think those kinds of numbers fall on deaf ears—there’s so much devastation in the world, that it’s a bit overwhelming for people. But by seeing a first-hand account of something like the effects of the drought in the Horn of Africa, you can have a different relationship with the story. It’s one of the blessings that come with new media. I’m hoping to go to Ethiopia in February and do a similar kind of project there because it’s an ongoing crisis, so I think it’s important to keep some focus there right now,” she said in the interview with the magazine.
“This story in particular is important for a number of reasons. It’s not just about a political or economic crisis, but an environmental one, and I think it’s important for people to be aware of the impact that climate change is having on this huge community of people. It’s not an explosive media story—it’s about an ongoing crisis that needs attention,” Scarlett added.
On being interested in politics, the actress admits that, “Well, my mom was always active. She was always an active voter, whether it was local, state, or federal elections. My mom would take us to polling locations when we were kids. My grandmother was also an active member of the tenants association and a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, and both of my parents were extremely liberal, so I think I grew up in a household that was very politically conscious — we all watched the elections on TV, and we watched the debates. So it was an awareness that we were raised with, and as we grew into young adults, we just naturally became politically active. It was just understood that it was important, that it was our responsibility.”
As on what’s happening with the Occupy Wall Street movement, Scarlett told ‘Interview’ that, “I thought about going down there, and, obviously, it’s important to shed light on something like that, but I’m not sure I understand . . . I’m aware that this might come across as a bit tacky, but that story is not well organized. I’m not exactly sure what the message is behind it all. It is sort of unclear. I mean, yes, people are fed up—and I think quite rightfully so. But what are they proposing as an alternative to just being upset or feeling disillusioned or abandoned?”
Speaking about balancing media attention, Johansson confesses that, “I don’t really profess to know how to balance any of it. [laughs] I don’t profess to know how to balance the positive and the negative media attention. It’s a gamble every time you put yourself out there, and, certainly, I’m always readjusting to it. But I hope it never becomes normal to feel scrutinized. I value my privacy and my personal life—and I certainly don’t exploit my personal life. But that’s not always in your control. There are, unfortunately, people who are interested in prying. So I think you have to protect your private life as much as you possibly can, and, at the same time, find ways to redirect that focus and turn the glare into a positive thing.”
The actress admits that she doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account. “I feel a couple of ways about it. Personally, I don’t feel the need to brand myself in that way. But as a means to share information and raise awareness of things, I think these social-networking platforms are unprecedented. They’re amazing tools to communicate information—especially about different causes or crises or movements. That said, I don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter account, and I don’t know how I feel about this idea of, ‘Now, I’m eating dinner, and I want everyone to know that I’m having dinner at this time.’ or ‘I just mailed a letter and dropped off my kids,'” she says.
To read the full Scarlett Johannson interview pick up a copy of the December issue of Interview.
Photos courtesy of Interview