Acting Too Commercial

At age 7, Johansson starts auditioning for commercials and becomes disinterested. "It was like a cattle call," she tells Allure in 2005. "[My mom and I] decided I'd just go out for film. I didn't want to promote Wonder Bread." After taking weekend acting classes at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in Manhattan, an 8-year-old Johansson appears opposite Ethan Hawke in an off-Broadway production of Sophistry. "I had two lines," she tells Allure.


Scarlett Johansson

Fate Plays a Hand

In Rob Reiner's North, Johansson, 9, makes her film debut as John Ritter's daughter. "I remember going onto the set of my first film and, for some reason, I just knew what to do, instinctively. It was like, I don't know...fate," she tells New York Magazine in 2004. As fate has it, an 11-year-old Johansson draws notice – and an Independent Spirit Award nod – for her performance as one of two orphaned sisters who run away from a foster home in Manny & Lo.


Scarlett Johansson

May 15

Stepping Up

Johansson's standout performance as a young teenager who loses her leg in a horse-riding accident in The Horse Whisperer puts her on the map. Her director and costar Robert Redford famously calls her "13 going on 30." She tells Esquire in 2005, "That film changed things for me in a lot of ways. I went through this realization that acting, at its heart, is the ability to manipulate your own emotions."


Scarlett Johansson

September 12

Found in Translation

Johansson, fresh out of high school, stars in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, playing a lonely twentysomething who befriends Bill Murray during a trip to Tokyo. The film opens to rave reviews, catapulting Johansson onto Hollywood's A-List and earning her a Best Comedic Actress Golden Globe nomination.

Scarlett Johansson

December 12

Girl with a Nomination

Girl with a Pearl Earring hits theaters. Johansson earns her second Best Actress Golden Globe nod for portraying a quiet 17th century Dutch maid, the inspiration for Johannes Vermeer's famous painting. "It was emotionally draining, but not difficult," she says of the role to New York Magazine. "It's much easier to let the emotions play across your face than to have to fumble around with silly dialogue."


Scarlett Johansson


Leto Love

Johansson is first spotted hanging out with actor Jared Leto in L.A. Johansson never discusses the relationship; the two are an off-and-on item for the next year.

December 29

Double Duty

Cementing her status as an A-list actress, Johansson releases two movies on the same day: In Good Company with Topher Grace and A Love Song for Bobby Long with John Travolta. She goes on to earn her third Golden Globe nod for Bobby Long.


Scarlett Johansson

July 02

Johansson Kissing Hartnett

Johansson gets close to actor Josh Hartnett. Spotted at Live 8 in London, "They were on their own, very kissy," a backstage source tells PEOPLE. "She was on his lap and kept burying her head in his shoulder. They were clearly very loved up."

Scarlett Johansson

July 22

Lights, Camera, Action!

Johansson makes her action movie debut opposite Ewan McGregor in The Island. "It [was] exhausting! I've never run so much in my life," she tells PEOPLE. "We'd work 16 hours a day, and then we'd hit the gym for two hours."

Scarlett Johansson

December 28

Match Made in Heaven

Match Point–a Woody Allen thriller in which Johansson plays a jilted lover–hits theatres. "He lets me call him Woodrow," she tells Allure of the famous director, who describes her to Vogue as "criminally sexy." The following summer, she stars opposite Hugh Jackman in Allen's Scoop and is cast in the director's Spanish comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona with Penélope Cruz.

Photo Credits

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): LISA ROSE/GLOBE; Elliott Marks; FOCUS FEATURES; Kobal Collection/Wireimage; Pierre/Stephane/BAUER-GRIFFIN; Jeff Vespa/WireImage; Everett Collection; Dave M. Benett/Getty

Edited by Julia Wang

Scarlett Johansson

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