Scarlett Johansson sailed into the Venice Film Festival today to promote her new film The Black Dahlia.
The 21-year-old plays a femme fatale in the murder mystery set in 1940s’ Hollywood.
The film received its first screening today – and Johansson’s famous curves proved diverting for some critics.
One told the actress she exuded so much on-screen sex appeal during a steamy scene with co-star Josh Hartnett that it could distract audiences from the plot.
“Of course it’s nice to be considered sexy, as a young woman in my prime. But I try not to think about the sexiness,” Johansson said. “And I never think about it being distracting from a scene.”
The star of Match Point and Lost In Translation will be on the red carpet tonight when The Black Dahlia gets its world premiere.
Directed by Brian De Palma, it is based on James Ellroy’s novel about the real-life unsolved murder of wannabe actress Elizabeth Short, whose mutilated body was discovered in LA in 1947.
Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart play cops investigating the murder, while Johansson is the woman caught between them.
The film explores the dark side of Tinseltown and the public’s fascination with scandalous crimes.
Johansson said there were parallels between America in the 1940s and today, making reference to the recent media frenzy surrounding the arrest of John Karr over the murder of JonBenet Ramsay. DNA tests have since ruled him out as the killer.
“I think generally, when there are periods of depression in a country, people distract themselves oftentimes with scandal,” the actress said.
“We’ve seen it in the past and it’s sort of happening right now. There’s mass genocide going on and people are focused on bringing somebody over from Thailand for tests that may or may not prove something. It distracts people from what’s going on at home.”