The Oscar nominations were announced today, and though “Fast & Furious 6” didn’t get the love it deserves, plenty of great movies did. “Gravity,” “American Hustle,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” and the Spike Jonze tech-love story “Her” were among the nine films nominated for Best Picture. Jonze’s “Her” takes place in the not so distant future where homes are run by operating systems; no need to set an alarm or make a pot of coffee, your smart house does that for you. Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore Twombly moves into such a house awaiting his divorce and develops an unlikely relationship with his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. While ScarJo may not have earned any Oscar nods herself, “Her” is a testament to her soothing sexiness. Jonze initially tagged Samantha Morton to play opposite Phoenix, but opted for a re-do in post-production. R.A. the Rugged Man spoke with Johansson way back in ’03 about her emergence on the scene, and, wouldn’t you know it, her voice.
Words by R.A. the Rugged Man
When Mass Appeal approached me to interview people for their magazine, my first thought was, “I don’t want to interview nobody, fuck that! I’m R.A. the Rugged Man; I’m not into that dick riding shit.” But then I thought about it and I was like, “Wait, this is the perfect way for me to meet hot, famous bitches.” I didn’t really know who Scarlett Johansson was until one of my hoes talked me into seeing some chick flick looking movie called Ghost World [MGM/UA, ’01]. It didn’t look like my kind of film, but I actually ended up laughing out loud and became obsessed with Thora Birch’s much hotter best friend/sidekick, 16-year-old Scarlett Johansson.
Yeah, I’m a perverted-ass old man but fuck it, she’s 18 and legal now and she’s gorgeous. She’s also in a whole bunch of other stuff like Home Alone 3 [20th Century Fox, ’97] and The Horse Whisperer [Buena Vista, ’98], but I fell completely in love when I seen her as the young piano playing chick who tries to blow Billy Bob Thornton in The Man Who Wasn’t There [USA Films, ’01]. She’s also got mad movies coming out in the near future: a teek flick called The Perfect Score [Paramount Pictures], a Sofia Coppola joint named Lost in Translation [Focus Features], and even one with Bill Murray in Tokyo, so I had to try and snag her. [Ed. note: those last two in that list are indeed the same movie.] Turned out that she was equally interested in meeting the Rugged Man, so we sat down and kicked it for a while. Here’s how it went.
Who do you like better: Biggie or Tupac?
I actually was never really a Tupac fan. I just don’t really like his music that much. I mean, he’s all right, but BIGGIE, BIGGIE, BIGGIE is wonderful and he was always played a lot by my older brother in the house.
Fair enough. Who do you think is sexier: Keanu Reeves, Tobey Maguire, or R.A. The Rugged Man?
Tobey Maguire’s disgusting. I don’t like him; he’s puny and weird. He’s like pubescent, which is just the most disgusting kind of state a boy could be in. And R.A. the Rugged Man or Keanu? Are we talking Keanu in “Devil’s Advocate” [Warner Studios, ’97] or “Speed” [20th Centurey Fox, ’94] ? Hmmm, that’s hard to say. I signed up to do this thing but we haven’t started. I mean, I’ve looked into your sparkling eyes but I haven’t looked into his yet. I can’t really call it.
Have you ever been in a fistfight?
Um, no. Although I was sitting in this park with a bunch of my friends and this girl I went to elementary school with came up to me and she was this bug-eyed psycho girl with a group of her friends. They were all wearing these huge North Face jackets and she was like, “Yo! Yo! I hear you wanna like, you know, you wanna fuck with me. Like you know, you wanna fight me.” And I’m sitting there with a bunch of my friends and we’re all wearing bell bottoms and shit and I was like, “I’m not gonna fight you. What are you crazy?”
That’s why you need to carry a gun.
No, it’s true you get into beef as an actor. There was this one actor I was working with this summer who got into a bar fight and this guy fucking knocked his teeth out. And I was like, “Your face is your livelihood. What are you thinking? Now you have these ridiculous looking caps.”
See, I’m a rapper. We’re allowed to fight. You know, if we end up with scars and missing an eye and teeth, it’s all good – it’s actually kinda cool.
Yeah, it’s dreamy. I mean, the only way I would probably physically assault someone is if they hurt someone I loved. Then I could fucking kill someone.
What do you do to stay focused on work and not get lost in all that glitzy Hollywood bullshit?
Um. [Laughs] Well, first of all, I don’t live in Hollywood, which makes a huge difference. I’m from New York. I was born and raised here, my mom was born and raised here, her parents. It’s the best place in the world to live and it really keeps you away from that shit.
And all your girlfriends that I met are hot and they all live in New York City?
That’s right. I have really beautiful girlfriends here. They’re gorgeous. I love going out with them and being close with them. They’re soft and smell nice.
When you were a kid, what made your mother decide, “We’re gonna put her in films!”? How did that happen?
I was very outgoing, but I guess a lot of kids are. I used to like to sing and dance and shit and when I was like seven we started going out on commercial auditions, which were terrible. I never booked a single job doing commercials. I was this really cute little girl and I was like, [deep, manly voice] “Hello, use this toothpaste,” and they were like, “Do you have a sore throat?” and I was like [deep, manly voice] “No, I always talk like this.”
Everybody loves your fucking voice. My girlfriend at the time used to fuck with chicks. She was in L.A. I saw “Ghost World,” and I told her, “You gotta see this girl in this movie!” She called me the next day, like “Oh my God! She’s so hot and how amazing is that bitch’s voice?!”
It used to be much huskier when I was really little. It smoothed out with my porcelain skin.
You called me a sellout the other day. What’s your definition of a sellout?
I called you a sellout because I thought you said you liked that awful group, My Bloody Valentine. ‘Cause I read your article and I heard about you and was like, “This guy’s really raw. He’s not about bullshit.” And then you like this band that’s like the predecessor of Radiohead and I was like, “How could you like that garbage? You’re such a sellout.” I though you were against all that shit. I guess it’s when you expect something from someone and you have a respect for them and they sort of surprise you in a terrible sort of way.
Who is a better role model for children: Mike Tyson or Scarlett Johansson?
Um… well, Mike seems to really like children and he’s good with little kids. Somebody was saying that they saw him at a club and it was so weird because he’s like [squeaky, girl voice] “S’cuse me. S’cuse me,” making it to the bar. And they said just his presence, like having him next to you, he’s just the most terrifying, scary, scary, scary person, even though he has his shirt tucked into his khakis and he’s like [squeaky, girly voice] “S’cuse me. S’cuse me. “I think it’s because he could crack, because he bit someone’s ear off and then tried to do it again. I could never imagine taking a chunk outta someone’s skin, you know. Maybe scratching their face – but he actually tasted their cartilage.
That’s when I really started liking him. What about music? Who do you like in music?
What’s the deal with J.Lo? She’s awful. I met her when I was ten years old and she was promoting “Selena” [Warner Studios, ’97] or something when she was nobody, and she turned around and her ass was so fucking big, it was the size of an entertainment center. This is when she was really tubby. She had these huge cellulite, big square thighs and she turned around and laughed at me, and I was ten. This grown woman was laughing at a ten year old. Christina Aguilera, say all you want, she’s a hoochie and you can see her coochie in the video, but she’s got a great voice at least. J.Lo’s voice sucks and all she has to back her up are these KRS-One beats that have been used like a half a dozen times already.