Marvel’s Samuel L. Jackson Gave Scarlett Johansson One Great Piece Of Advice Early On (And She Passed It Along To Florence Pugh)

Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson in Iron Man 2

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11 years ago, Scarlett Johansson debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, and next week, the character will finally be seen starring in her own movie. Iron Man 2 was also notable for fully introducing Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury following his cameo in Iron Man. However, Jackson also came into the MCU with plenty of experience working in action-related projects, and he gave Johansson some advice back then that she’s since passed on to her Black Widow co-star Florence Pugh.

Although Avengers: Endgame marked the chronological end of Natasha Romanoff’s MCU journey, it looks like Black Widow will indeed be the last time Scarlett Johansson plays the character. Florence Pugh, on the other hand, looks to have a bright future ahead of her playing Yelena Belova, so Johansson made sure to let her know what Samuel L. Jackson told her back in the day: focus on your acting craft rather than try to become as good at stunts as the professionals. As Johansson put it to THR:

The physical work is so grueling, and you can really burn out on that stuff. I did say to Florence in the beginning that this is a long job. And selling things — the emotional grit behind it — is a much more valuable way to spend your time than actually trying to be a professional athlete. The whole stunt department are incredible athletes, and you’re never going to reach their 16 years of professionalism, or whatever, in four weeks. So that’s the one piece of advice that I wish I had gotten, which, eventually, Sam Jackson gave me and now I pass through myself to Florence. ‘Don’t kill yourself, kid!’ Sam Jackson said to me; it was something like that. So I took his advice.

Scarlett Johansson clarified that this doesn’t mean an actor shouldn’t be “physically comfortable with the stunt work and choreography,” saying that in some ways, it should be “second nature.” However, Johansson recalled that when she shot Iron Man 2, that was at a time when actors were doing a lot more of their stunts. She specifically mentioned how the hallway scene where Black Widow fought off the security team at Justin Hammer’s factory was “really complicated,” with the choreography being “less fine tuned” for the actors.

Luckily for her, Samuel L. Jackson, who has shown off his action chops in movies like Die Hard with a Vengeance and the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, clued her in early that it’s not worth it trying to outdo that people who are trained to perform stunts and the more intensive action sequences. Again, that doesn’t mean that now that Florence Pugh has received the same advice, she shouldn’t physically prepare for some of the lighter stunts on a movie like Black Widow. But unless she refocuses her career on stunt work, she’s better off leaving the more heavy duty stuff to the people trained for that sort of thing.

Black Widow, which premieres in theaters and on Disney+’s Premier Access on July 9, winds the clock back to show what Natasha Romanoff was up to between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. While we know how the character’s story ultimately ends, Yelena Belova’s MCU outing won’t be a one-and-done affair, as she’s confirmed to appear next in Disney+’s Hawkeye. Samuel L. Jackson will also reprise Nick Fury in Secret Invasion, which will also air on the Mouse House’s streaming service.

As we count down the days until Black Widow is finally available, keep your eyes locked on CinemaBlend for all the biggest updates concerning that project and other upcoming Marvel movies.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.