Black Widow’s Florence Pugh Explains Her Concerns Over Getting Into Superhero Shape

Florence Pugh in Black Widow with Scarlett Johansson

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It's a unique time in The Marvel Cinematic Universe, as we're currently occupying the interim period between phases. Phase Four will kick off with Cate Shortland's Black Widow, which was unfortunately delayed a number of months when theaters closed. Fans will have to wait a little while longer before their final adventure with Scarlett Johansson's title character, while also being introduced to a number of new characters. Chief among them is Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova / Black Widow, although the Oscar nominated actress had some concerns about getting into superhero shape.

Comic book movies are notoriously grueling, with actors often required to make physical transformations in order to transform into a superhero. The trailers for Black Widow tease that Florence Pugh's Yelena will be involved in a ton of action sequences, some of which involve flying through the air. While the 24 year-old actress was excited to kick ass in her MCU debut, she recently explained her concerns with how her body would change for the role, saying:

When I got the job, I wanted to know what the regime was. I wanted to know whether it was them or me calling the shots. That was a big deal for me. I didn’t want to be part of something where I was constantly checked on. And people making sure I was in the ‘right’ shape. That’s not me at all.

Well, that was honest. While getting a role in Black Widow was obviously a huge opportunity for the Little Women actress, she had to stand her ground in regard to the physical transformation required. Namely because she wanted control over her own body when preparing for her MCU debut.

Marvel fans can re-watch Black Widow's tenure in the MCU on Disney+. You can use this link for a free 7-day trial to the streaming service.

The superhero genre is known for requiring a ton of physical work from its stars. Actors often go on strict diets and fitness regimens in order to portray comic book characters, and fit into skin tight costumes. Florence Pugh was down for the adventure, but wanted to make sure she had autonomy over her own body, and wasn't been too closely monitored by the studio and powers that be.

Later in her conversation with Elle, Florence Pugh did explain how excited she was to kick some ass as Yelena in Black Widow. Considering the physical work she put into her starring role in Fighting with My Family, this isn't the first time that Pugh has been asked to kick ass on the big screen. As she put it,

Essentially you need to look good moving. For me, I loved all of that because I grew up with a lot of dance and a lot of movement. I was always fighting my brother [actor and musician Toby Sebastian], so I find all of that combat stuff so exciting. Once you’ve put it on camera you’ve got to know how to make it look right and that’s a whole different beast.

From what we've seen of Black Widow, it appears that Florence Pugh succeeded in this specific challenge of moviemaking. She's going to be involved in plenty of action sequences throughout the movie's runtime, and will be going toe to toe with both Scarlett Johansson's title character and the mysterious villain Taskmaster.

Florence Pugh's star power has been steadily growing over the past few years, with her film project showing off an impressive range. She recently appeared in the acclaimed horror movie Midsommar, Fighting with My Family, and got an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Amy March in Little Women. We'll just have to wait and see what she brings to the table with Black Widow, and how it connects to the title character's ultimate fate.

Black Widow is currently expected to hit theaters on November 6th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.