Hollywood 'It Girl' Scarlett Johansson Turns Babysitter

Manila Bulletin, November 18, 2007 | Go to article overview

Hollywood 'It Girl' Scarlett Johansson Turns Babysitter


Four-time Golden Globe nominee Scarlett Johansson has been superb at playing sexy, glamorous roles yet few are aware of her comic ability.

This time, the Hollywood A-lister shows off her comedic prowess in "The Nanny Diaries," a movie about high grades, high living and high anxiety. It is based on the #1 New York Times Bestseller of the same title.

"The Nanny Diaries" tells the story of the emotional and often humorous journey of Annie Braddock (Scarlett Johansson - "Lost In Translation," "The Black Dahlia," "The Prestige"). Fresh out of college, she gets tremendous pressure from her mother to find a respectable position in the business world. Through a serendipitous meeting, Annie ends up in the elite and ritualistic culture of Manhattan's Upper East Side. Choosing to duck out of real life, Annie accepts the position as a nanny for a wealthy family, referred to as simply "the X's." She quickly learns that life is not very rosy on the other side of the tax bracket, as she must cater to the every whim of Mrs. X (Laura Linney) and her precocious son Grayer, while attempting to avoid the formidable Mr. X (Paul Giamatti). Life becomes even more complicated when Annie falls for a gorgeous Harvard Hottie (Chris Evans), and she's forced to re-examine her life and the direction in which it is headed.

In 2002, the satirical novel "The Nanny Diaries" was published to critical acclaim, blockbuster sales, and a substantial degree of notoriety. The book's controversy was inspired by the fact that its authors, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, had spent a combined eight years working as babysitters in Manhattan, for over thirty families. The book's film rights were purchased by Producer Richard N. Gladstein (Finding Neverland, The Cider House Rules) and his associate Gary Binkow, for Miramax. "It was just as good an idea when we first read it," says Gladstein, "but it obviously puts a different responsibility on us as filmmakers once so many people have read the book--we have to get it right. But our intention all along was to make our own film."

"A lot of people need nannies because they work," says screenwriter/director Rober Pulcini. "It's a rich topic and it's a dilemma. Kids are always going to fall in love with someone they spend so much time with. And how do you balance that? This seems to hit a nerve with people, and maybe that's why the book was such a phenomenon."

They also turned to one of America's leading young actresses, Scarlett Johansson, to play Annie. "Scarlett has been great at playing a glamorous role, or a vixen, but prior to "Scoop", I don't think movies have taken advantage of her comic ability," says screenwriter/director Shari Springer Berman. …

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