The U.K. based Jonathan Glazer spent about ten years trying to make “Under the Skin”, the alien hitchhiker thriller, starring Scarlett Johansson, which premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Fest.
“When I first read a version of the script, it was almost about this couple together trying to blend into the community,” Johansson said, “It was a very different story.”
Shot on location in Glasgow and the Scottish Highlands, “Under the Skin” is based on the novel by Michel Faber and tells the story of an alien seductress who preys on young men in Scotland. Johansson spends much of the film in the nude, including one extended full frontal scene watching herself in a mirror. It may be the most revealing role of her career.
“There was this challenge of having to abandon all of these normal human instincts,” the actress said of her character. “Our doubts and fears and judgments and start from the very beginning and have a very pure intention.”
Glazer, best known for “Sexy Beast,” took his time to find the “right D.N.A.” for the project. He explained: “You’re trying to find a blend of form of content, some of it you can’t predict until the day you shoot them.”
“It was a very abstract beginning for the first couple of weeks until it found its heartbeat,” Johansson added. The actress’ nude scenes come more than a year after naked photos of Johansson leaked on the Web, which led to an F.B.I. probe and eventual arrest of two phone hackers.
“Under the Skin,” acquired by A24, is one of the two films Johansson has this year. The other is the romantic comedy, directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “Don Jon.”
“The character I play in ‘Don Jon’ is very staid in her opinions and her ideals,” she explained. “Where is this character is much more of a metamorphosis, it’s a transformation.”