Actress Scarlett Johansson urged actors to refrain from giving their political opinions during a recent interview in which she also likened President Joe Biden’s electoral victory to “the end of a war.”
Speaking to British magazine The Gentlewoman, Johansson said the role of actors is to act and not necessarily opine on political issues.
“I don’t think actors have obligations to have a public role in society,” she said. “Some people want to, but the idea that you’re obligated to because you’re in the public eye is unfair. You didn’t choose to be a politician, you’re an actor. Your job is to reflect our experience to ourselves; your job is to be a mirror for an audience, to be able to have an empathetic experience through art. That is what your job is.”
“Whatever my political views are, all that stuff, I feel most successful when people can sit in a theatre or at home and disappear into a story or a performance and see pieces of themselves, or are able to connect with themselves through this experience of watching this performance or story or interaction between actors or whatever it is,” she continued. “And they’re affected by it and they’re thinking about it, and they feel something. You know? They have an emotional reaction to it – good, bad, uncomfortable, validating, whatever. That’s my job. The other stuff is not my job.”
Scarlett patrols her boundaries carefully, and one way she limits her public persona is by having zero presence on social media. She remains doubtful about the possibilities of digital life. “I’m already anxious, I already have tons of friend guilt, I can’t ever stay in touch with people! How can I be more connected?” She’s seen friends disappear down social media sinkholes, becoming obsessed with how people respond to them, entranced by the reflected image of themselves they get from their followers, good or bad. “It creates this unrealistic sort of sense of ego,” she says.
Later in the interview, Johansson remembered being so upset when it appeared former President Donald Trump had won re-election on Election Night that she couldn’t sleep. “You could hear people losing their minds outside, and I just cried,” she said of when the numbers changed and major networks declared Biden’s victory later that week. “It was a pretty crazy reaction. Oh my God, it’s over. It felt like the end of a war, you know?”
As The Gentlewoman wrote:
So what comes after the war? At the very least, the presence of a reassuring grown-up in the White House. “I said to Colin, it feels like when your life is falling apart and an older person, your parent’s friend or your uncle, is like, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ And you’re like, ‘Aaargh!’” Scarlett melts into a comedically grateful collapse at her imagined avuncular version of Joe Biden.
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