Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh Shot ‘Black Widow’ While Sick with Pneumonia

“Black Widow” is finally popping in theaters after seemingly endless release date changes — in theaters and streaming via Disney+ on July 9. The Marvel tentpole gives Scarlett Johansson’s titular S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and savvy KGB assassin her own feature, but she’s also joined by Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, who as Natasha Romanoff’s (Johansson) successor will propel further female-driven storylines in the “Black Widow” universe.

According to a new feature in U.K. outlet The Gentlewoman, filming Cate Shortland’s MCU action adventure proved to be a grueling, four-month shoot conducted over multiple locations, and it took its toll on the cast and filmmakers:

“It was like being in the army,” Cate Shortland said. According to the story. “By the end, Scarlett and her co-star Florence Pugh were both shooting while ill with pneumonia.”

“Black Widow” was shot in Norway, Morocco, the U.K. and in the U.S.

Still Shortland insisted that Johansson remained high-spirited throughout the filming. “She’s completely unpretentious,” the director said, “and that makes her really fun to be around. She’ll be joking with the best boy or the runner; there’s no hierarchy. She appreciates people, and she makes people feel appreciated.”

In the interview, Johansson also talked about how she’s made a career out of courting controversy — from her whitewashed casting in “Ghost in the Shell” to her comments in defense of Woody Allen. Johansson told The Gentlewoman that “I’m going to have opinions about things, because that’s just who I am,” while also acknowledging she hasn’t always said the right thing in public. “I mean, everyone has a hard time admitting when they’re wrong about stuff, and for all of that to come out publicly, it can be embarrassing. To have the experience of, ‘Wow, I was really off the mark there, or I wasn’t looking at the big picture, or I was inconsiderate.’ I’m also a person.”

Johansson also added, “I don’t think actors have obligations to have a public role in society. Some people want to, but the idea that you’re obligated to because you’re in the public eye is unfair. You didn’t choose to be a politician, you’re an actor. Your job is to reflect our experience to ourselves; your job is to be a mirror for an audience, to be able to have an empathetic experience through art. That is what your job is.”

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