Jul 19th, 2012

We Bought A Zoo star Scarlett Johansson talks to Metro about the public’s fascination with her private life, and what it was like to finally work with Cameron Crowe.

How do you deal with the public’s obsession with your private life?
I don’t know how anybody handles that kind of stuff. I’m still figuring it out. My greatest fear would be to lose the ability to make an audience sympathise with the character I played because they felt they knew so much about me and they couldn’t shake it. I want them to be completely convinced by who I am playing, to get lost in it.

What was it like to finally work with Cameron Crowe on We Bought A Zoo? You had wanted to work with him for five years.
It was amazing. You leave the audition feeling like a million bucks, whether you got the role or not. You’ve tried everything a million different ways, discussing the depths of the character you want to develop. So to be able to do that over months was a beautiful thing.

Were you inspired by the real zookeeper behind this true story?
My character’s not based on anybody. I met so many handlers and trainers throughout the process. They don’t have friends; they don’t have families; they dedicate their entire lives to the job. Cameron got it right in that sense, when my character, Kelly, gives that dialogue; I think that was inspired by someone he’d spoken to.

The director of photography said you were not scared in the snake scene – so what scares you?
Cockroaches. I hate them. I have a weird childhood trauma from cockroaches. I could do most things I didn’t want to do but any kind of cockroach situation, even if meant the performance of a lifetime, I don’t think I could do it.

Do you feel like you had a childhood? Did you miss what other children had because you were working?
I had a relatively normal childhood. It wasn’t like I was on a TV show constantly and had to be home schooled. I worked consistently but it was never for more than a few months of the year. In many ways, I did things that most kids never had the opportunity to do. I was living a dream… I’m still living it.

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