I look like a street, punky girl,” Scarlett Johansson tells me. “It’s that edgy Debbie-Harry- meets-Marianne-Faithfull look.”
Certainly the new images of Johansson for the autumn/winter 2009 Mango campaign, which hits the streets today, are a world away from the Scarlett that we’ve become used to.
Gone is the preppie, all-American girl of Lost in Translation, or the noir heroine of The Black Dahlia.
Johansson shot the ad campaign for the Spanish high-street fashion store with über-cool photographer Mario Sorrenti.
Hair styled in a tousled blonde bob, we see Scarlett wearing leather and leopardskin, super-skinny jeans and a black bra.
You wouldn’t mess with that girl. “She’s not a waif,” says Johansson proudly.
She takes over as the face of Mango from Penelope Cruz (who has fronted it for the past two years) and jokes she already knew a lot about the clothes from working with Cruz on Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona.
“I had the inside scoop a little, and I knew Penelope really liked working with the company, which gave me confidence.”
Johansson, 25, likes the unexpected. For our interview at a boutique hotel in Madrid, she already looks completely different.
Her hair is longer and dyed red for her new role in Iron Man 2 (she plays the cartoon baddie Black Widow).
She is wearing a floaty, Mango tiered dress, in pink and nude, and snakeskin leather platforms. Her complexion is exquisite (she is, after all, the face of Dolce & Gabbana make-up).
You never know how starlets will behave in the flesh. But Johannson is a sweetheart. Kookier and funnier than you might imagine (her mother is Jewish, her father Danish).
She radiates happiness, after marrying Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, 32 (currently starring opposite Sandra Bullock in The Proposal), in a private ceremony last September.
Marriage has, she says, allowed her to play around with her image. “When you’re in a solid relationship, or happy with your work situation, you explore yourself in a different way.
“But for me it’s never about dressing for a man,” she adds thoughtfully. “I think women dress for women, really.”
Famous for her hourglass curves and bee-stung pout (Woody Allen calls her “sexually overwhelming”), Johansson says she just wants to look “presentable” and “sane” on a night out.
“At home I’m casual, because I spend a lot of my working day in tons of hair and make-up. I probably look like a college student in my sweatshirt.”
Although she reveres old Hollywood glamour (Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis), she likes “to switch it up. If something looks too retro, it’s tired. I like to make it edgier, whether it’s a pretty piece of jewellery or a really bright lipstick or some fabulous heels”.
As for size zero: “I hate it. You look at these poor women who are objectified by these magazines. I’m never going to be able to look at a runway model and say: ‘I’ll try my best to look like that.’ I think it’s important for young girls to hear that from someone like me.”
But Johansson has long understood the power of the image.
During the filming of Lost In Translation, nine years ago: “I took the director of photography aside,” she recalls, with that throaty Lauren Bacall laugh, “and said, ‘Look if there’s a lump or bump in this first shot, you’ll never work in this industry again!'”