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Roles Scarlett Johansson Lost Before Becoming Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson is one of the most successful young actors in the world, both commercially and critically. She's also shown an ability to easily maneuver between styles and genres. Johansson has done heavy dramatic work in films like Her and Lost in Translation, strong comedy in films like Hail, Caesar! and Isle of Dogs, and hit the sweet spot in between with Jojo Rabbit.

Of course, Johansson can basically write her own ticket as one of Hollywood's most bankable stars due to her work as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, things weren't always that way.

Even with an impressive filmography, it wasn't really until her role in the MCU that Johansson was a "must have" talent. She was turned down for several major roles over the years leading up to her casting as Black Widow, going back as far as when she was searching for work in the early '90s as a child actor. Here are some of the roles Scarlett Johansson lost over the years — just think how different some of these films would have been.

Judy Shepherd - Jumanji

Scarlett Johansson started getting her first credits in the mid-1990s, with appearances in a few films before she was even a teenager. It wouldn't have been her very first role, but she probably could have been a household name a bit quicker if she had landed a starring turn in 1995's Jumanji.

Vanity Fair writes that Johansson auditioned for the role of Judy, which would have put her in a lead role when she was just 11 years old. Jumanji was a pretty big film; star Robin Williams was a major, bankable screen presence, so she could have made her mainstream breakthrough much earlier had she been cast. There are even a few clips of her Jumanji audition online.

Ultimately, the role of Judy went to another major star (and extremely successful child actor) in Kirsten Dunst. It probably helped that Dunst is a few years older than Johansson; it fit the role of Judy well to have an actor who was a bit older in the part. This isn't the only time that Dunst would snatch a role away from Johansson, either: in 2005, Dunst was again cast in a major role that Johansson was gunning for.

Annie & Hallie - The Parent Trap

Scarlett Johansson has often been refreshingly candid about her position in Hollywood, so it's always fun to hear her dish about the roles she's missed out on over the years. She shot for some high-profile films as a preteen and young teenager, and one that stands in her mind is the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap.

The film is about a pair of identical twins who are separated at birth, with each being raised by one of their biological parents. The two meet by chance at summer camp, and they hatch a plan to get their parents back together that involves them swapping places with one another. Johansson auditioned for the double-duty lead role and would have played both Annie and Hallie, but Lindsay Lohan won the part for her breakout film debut.

Johansson later said she watched The Parent Trap, but it was very hard for her to do. She claims it started to make her bitter about other roles she had missed out on.

Fantine - Les Misérables

Like a lot of film actors, Scarlett Johansson has a love for the stage. She actually won a Tony Award in 2010 in her Broadway debut for her performance in A View from a Bridge, and she has appeared in a few other high-profile stage shows like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. As of this writing, she's rumored for the lead role of Audrey in the film remake of Little Shop of Horrors. ScarJo missed out on a major role in 2012's Les Misérables, and she blames an illness for it.

Johansson auditioned for the tragic role of Fantine. She told Broadway that "the jazz hands kid inside me was just over the moon" to have a chance to read for the part, but she unfortunately was battling laryngitis when she auditioned and lost out to Anne Hathaway. However, ScarJo also claims that Hathaway's performance in the film was perfect and she doesn't think she could have done better. Hathaway took home an Oscar for her performance in Les Mis, so Johansson's assessment sounds about right.

Lizbeth Salander - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Scarlett Johansson is a beautiful woman, no two ways about it. But according to David Fincher, that beauty cost her a major film role. Fincher directed the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and had some... fairly creepy reasoning for why Johansson didn't score the lead role of Lisbeth Salander.

Fincher told Vogue (via The Hollywood Reporter) that ScarJo had a great audition for the film, but he didn't want to cast her because "you can't wait for her to take her clothes off." He went on to give an extremely backhanded compliment to the film's actual star, Rooney Mara, saying, "Salander should be like E.T. If you put E.T. dolls out before anyone had seen the movie, they would say, 'What is this little squishy thing?' Well, you know what? When he hides under the table and he grabs the Reese's Pieces, you love him! It has to be like that."

Claire Colburn - Elizabethtown

Elizabethtown is probably one that Scarlett Johansson is glad she didn't land. For one, she would absolutely not have fit the role of Claire Colburn. This would also be the second time she lost out on a major role to Kirsten Dunst (the first being Jumanji).

Elizabethtown stars Orlando Bloom as a depressed man about to commit suicide when he learns his father has died. When he returns to his hometown for the funeral, he meets Claire and learns to embrace the ups and downs of life and how to become happier.

It's pretty schmaltzy stuff, and Dunst's character is actually responsible for the creation of the term "manic pixie dream girl," which A.V. Club writer Nathan Rabin coined while discussing Elizabethtown. He went on to say of the character type, "Audiences either want to marry her instantly... or they want to commit grievous bodily harm against them... let's just say I'm not going to propose to Dunst's psychotically chipper waitress in the sky any time soon."

Scarlett Johansson has admitted to bitterness about some missed casting opportunities, but she doesn't need to be too bent out of shape about missing this one.

Lindsey Farris - Mission: Impossible 3

Mission: Impossible 3 had a wildly rocky development, so there are all sorts of conflicting reports about why Scarlett Johansson, fresh off her star turn in Lost in Translation left the project. The official word is "scheduling conflicts," but far too much tea has been spilled about MI3 for us to believe that boring reasoning.

Johansson was attached to the role of Lindsey Farris, eventually played by Keri Russell. In one version of the story, she fled the project to escape from star Tom Cruise, who was trying to recruit her into the Church of Scientology. This story comes from a source allegedly close to Johansson, not the star herself, so take it with a grain of salt.

More believable is that Johansson was collateral damage when the film's original director, Joe Carnahan, left the project. Carnahan wanted to make MI3 more like the first film, as opposed to Mission: Impossible 2, which he called a "parody of a spy movie." Carnahan's vision didn't align with the studio's, and J.J. Abrams replaced him. According to the story, this led to a housecleaning, with ScarJo, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Kenneth Branagh among those who were lost in the shakeup.

Ryan Stone - Gravity

Much like the actual mission at the heart of the film, the casting for Gravity went through a lot of bumps in the road. Alfonso Cuarón's visually stunning Oscar darling almost looked a lot different than the Sandra Bullock-George Clooney pairing, with several other major actors vying for the two leads. The rumor mill originally claimed Johansson had signed to play the role of stranded astronaut Ryan Stone, but it turned out to be getting a bit ahead of itself.

Originally, Clooney's role of Matt Kowalski was going to be played by Robert Downey Jr. That means we could have had an interesting little MCU crossover, had Johansson been cast as originally reported. Apparently, Johansson wasn't even the first choice for the film, though. It was originally Angelina Jolie's role, but she left the project, paving the way for Johansson. Soon, Blake Lively's name started popping up as ScarJo's competition.

We don't really know exactly how far along any of this casting went but, obviously, not one of the trio of Downey, Johansson or Lively was cast in Gravity. It would have been interesting to see Johansson's take on the character, but Bullock's Oscar-nominated performance was excellent.

Lois Lane - Superman Returns

Saying Scarlett Johansson was going to be in Superman Returns is a bit of a stretch. She originally read for an early version of the film, known as Superman: Flyby, written by J.J. Abrams and directed by McG. The film never quite got off the ground, with several actors in talks to take on roles in the film, several directors sitting in the chair and no real solid details solidifying. Eventually, Flyby fell away and we got Superman Returns instead.

Ultimately, Kate Bosworth took on the role that Johansson was shooting for, with Brandon Routh taking up the mantle of Superman. Later on, when Superman helped kick off the DCEU, those roles went to Henry Cavill and Amy Adams.

Johansson could have done great work with the role of Lois Lane, but we may not have seen her as Black Widow if she had done so. Especially considering this iteration of Superman didn't stick around for long, it's probably best she missed out on the role.

Sarah Bailey - The Craft

The Craft is a lovely bit of nostalgia for angsty '90s kids everywhere. Who could forget Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, and Rachel True as a group of witches terrorizing a high school? Scarlett Johansson has shown she has the versatility to shine in a role like Sarah Bailey (who was played by Tunney), but she missed out on the role for a pretty simple reason: she was only 12 when she auditioned.

The four women who were cast in the film were all significantly older at the time — most were in their early twenties, and Rachel True was nearly 30. It would have been extremely odd to have a 12-year-old Johansson playing the same age as the significantly older women. Considering the tone The Craft wound up taking, Johansson was just not the right fit for the film.

If the film had been made five or ten years later, Johansson probably would have been a slam dunk for The Craft. Interestingly, several other major stars, including Angelina Jolie and Alicia Silverstone, read for roles in The Craft and were not cast.

Maria Von Trapp - The Sound of Music (London Stage Revival)

Along with being one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, Scarlett Johansson has appeared in numerous Broadway productions, including a Tony-winning performance in A View from a Bridge. She was given the opportunity to perform in the classic role of Maria Von Trapp in the London Stage Revival of The Sound of Music, but she ended up departing the project, with conflicting reports offering reasons for the switch.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, who was resurrecting the play in London in the mid-2000s, targeted Johansson for the lead role made famous by Julie Andrews in the film version of the musical. However, Webber later stated in an interview that Johansson's demands were "ridiculous," and that her agents were cold to the idea of her making "$18,500 a week when she could be earning $10 million for a movie."

Johansson's publicist denied any such demands, and said "[Johansson's] management team was simply asking for terms that an actress of her stature would ask for." Drama in the world of drama, apparently.

Evey Hammond - V for Vendetta

It's hard to imagine anyone other than Natalie Portman playing Evey in V for Vendetta, but Scarlett Johansson comes in as a close second. She was reportedly very close to securing the role in the adaptation of the dystopian comic, but eventually lost out to Portman. It would be a few more years until Johansson finally secured her blockbuster superhero role as Silken Floss in Frank Miller's The Spirit.

Sorry, we meant the MCU's Black Widow. She did play Silken Floss, though! You all remember The Spirit, right? Anyone?

Johansson could have captured the innocent-turned-badass revolutionary aura of Evey very well, though Portman did an excellent job acting opposite a man whose entire face is covered for the film. Portman agreed to shave her head for the role, calling it "fun" and "not traumatic at all." Maybe she landed the role for that reason.

It wasn't all bad for Johansson, though — she went on that year and the next to star in some other blockbusters, like The Island and The Prestige.