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Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh 'empathize' with 'Black Widow' characters

Scarlett Johansson discussed how she relates to her Black Widow character, Natasha Romanoff. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Scarlett Johansson discussed how she relates to her "Black Widow" character, Natasha Romanoff. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Black Widow stars Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh say they "empathize" with their characters in the upcoming Marvel film.

Johansson, 35, and Pugh, 24, discussed how they relate to their characters in the winter issue of Marie Claire magazine.

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Johansson and Pugh play Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, and Yelena Belova in the new movie. The characters were both raised and trained as Black Widows, or Russian agents, in a secret facility known as the Red Room.

In the Marie Claire cover story, Johansson explained how she chooses roles.

"I look for women who I feel I can relate to on some level, that I have empathy for," the actress said.

"That's a bit complicated, obviously, because you can have empathy for people in different ways, and for different reasons," she added. "But if I can empathize with a character, no matter what their moral compass is, then that's important to me."

Pugh shared similar sentiments about her film roles.

"Similar to Scarlett, it's always been, kind of, number-one top priority for me to find women who are totally fascinating and totally powerful in their own way," she said. "I really want to recognize the women I play, whether it's that I recognize my mom in her, or my gran in her, or my sister in her. I want to play complex and confusing characters."

Black Widow is directed by Cate Shortland and co-stars David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle and Rachel Weisz. In the interview, Johansson and Pugh recalled a challenging day on set that saw them performing stunts in high heat.

"I don't want to candy-coat anything, because it's a challenge in a male-dominated industry to tell a woman's story from the perspective of a female director and focus on the heart of something that is inherently female," Johansson said.

Black Widow was to open in theaters in May but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The movie is now slated to open in May 2021.

Pugh previously described Black Widow as a "rough" and "emotional" film in an interview with Vogue. Johansson told Vanity Fair in 2019 that she hopes the movie is "empowering."

Moments from Scarlett Johansson's career

Scarlett Johansson takes a photo with fans at the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of "Lost in Translation" at the Elgin Theater in Toronto, on September 5, 2003. Johansson went on to win the BAFTA award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical for her role in "Lost in Translation." Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo

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