‘Avengers’ Director Joss Whedon Loves The ‘Duplicitous’ Black Widow

'Her story is among my favorites, because she's not a hero,' he says of Scarlett Johansson's character for Summer Movie Preview Week.
By Kara Warner

Captain America in "Avengers"
Photo: Walt Disney Studios

One of the most intriguing aspects about the very highly anticipated and superhero-studded "Marvel's The Avengers" is in wondering how much the audience will see of each individual character, as well as what the actor in question has brought to the table in portraying a new side of their respective Marvel hero in the massive film.

When MTV News caught up with mastermind and director Joss Whedon recently, we asked him if any of his castmembers brought something extra to the film via their pre-production knowledge or ideas about their storied characters.

"They're all very serious, dedicated people," Whedon said with pride. "Scarlett [Johansson] knew more about the Black Widow than I did; that was a bit of a surprise. She claims that it was all from Wikipedia, though."

Whedon said Johansson's character arc is one of his favorites in the film, because it's so much different from that of the other bona fide superheroes like Captain America and Iron Man.

"Her story is among my favorites, because she's not a hero. She doesn't live in a hero's world; she lives in a very noir/duplicitous world of being a spy, and there's a darkness to her and her past," he explained. "There's also a real beauty to her relationship with Clint Barton [a.k.a. Hawkeye] that, for me, is as exciting as anything in the movie, really."

For her part, Johansson joked with us recently at the film's premiere that because Widow isn't a superhero, she's happy she survived the action-packed shoot.

"We all took a pretty big beating," she said. "I would have to say either [Black] Widow or Hawkeye [get their butts kicked hardest]. We're on the ground, so we're fighting hand-to-hand and it hurts."

She also teased a pretty epic fight sequence with another character she couldn't name.

"All I can say is that I had to fight someone else in this film, and they beat the crap out of me in stunt rehearsals. I have to say I could not believe it," she recalled. "I was like, 'Can you hold it back, OK? You know, I'm trying to work it out here. I've got smaller muscles than you,' " Johansson said. "I was dragged across the [floor]. When we finally finished [filming] that scene I was just happy to be alive."

It's Summer Movie Preview Week, and MTV News will be bringing you exclusive interviews, clips and photos for the most anticipated summer movies. Get ready to gorge on inside looks at "The Avengers," Robert Pattinson's "Bel Ami," Kristen Stewart's "Snow White," "The Amazing Spider-Man" and more!

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