Captain America 2 is basically justifying Scarlett Johansson’s paycheck
In the wake of The Avengers bonanza success last summer, we learned that RDJ raked in—at minimum—fifty million for the film. There was also a rumor that arose in the wake of RDJ’s back-end deal getting exposed that Scarlett Johansson, in order to guarantee her return in The Avengers 2, would be getting a $20 million payday for the next installment in the franchise. I doubted not the overall number—I fully believe ScarJo’s lawyers are planting money trees in Marvel’s parking lot—but the structure of the deal. That rumor made it sound like the $20 mil would be up front but it seems more likely that’s the sum total of either a bonus/points deal for The Avengers 2 or part of a multi-picture option on her contract. She agrees to The Avengers 2 and, say, two more outlier appearances and gets $20 million guaranteed off receipts. (How people get paid in Hollywood is totally fascinating to me.)
And now, as Captain America: The Winter Soldier starts shooting, Entertainment Weekly is reporting that what was initially made to sound like a cameo appearance by ScarJo’s Black Widow has been promoted to an actual proper role in the movie. Not surprising. ScarJo’s involvement was inevitable from the moment the title was announced. The Winter Soldier is all tangled up in the Black Widow’s backstory and since that Black Widow/Hawkeye movie is probably never happening, this is where they’re dumping all that development for Natasha Romanov.
I had my reservations about Captain America the first time, which Marvel largely answered by setting the movie in the 1940s, the era that spawned the Cap. But now he’s got to live in the modern world, and without a (verbal)sparring partner like Tony Stark, I don’t know how Steve Rogers will fare. He’s not the most dynamic guy, the Robb Stark of Marvel (ugh). Which may be why they’re loading up on SHIELD personnel—Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Maximiliano Hernandez (Agent Sitwell, Coulson’s #2) are all returning in addition to ScarJo, and they’re adding Anthony Mackie (!!!) as Sam Wilson, Emily VanCamp as the love interest, and Robert Redford as retried SHIELD brass (the Sundance Institute must need money).
You know who hasn’t been mentioned, though? Jeremy Renner. Initially I heard Hawkeye would have at least a cameo in Cap 2, also, but he’s vanished from all mentions of the movie. Renner wasn’t exactly subtle about his displeasure with how Hawkeye turned out—is he on the naughty step?
ScarJo just wrapped up her Broadway run of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, so she’s going directly from Broadway to Marvel’s back lot. Do you think she’ll lord that over everyone else, particularly the likes of TV actresses Smulders and VanCamp? She doesn’t always have the friendliest reputation.
Attached -- Marvel has released this shot of Captain America and Scarjo on the cover of the new Marie Claire.