When Warner Bros. recently announced that Spike Jonze’s new film, Her, would be released November 20, we were excited, and not just because Jonze’s first film since 2009’s Where the Wild Things Are has got to be one of our most-anticipated premieres of the year. The thing that really piqued our interest is how the WB press release casually included Scarlett Johansson in a stacked cast that already featured Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, and Amy Adams; while not much is known about Her beyond the tantalizing premise — “A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need” — it seemed surprising that Jonze could have cast an A-list Avenger in his film and kept it under wraps for the better part of a year.
This week, Jonze got in touch with Vulture to clarify Johansson’s casting: She’ll be providing the voice of the operating system, a pivotal part that had formerly been Samantha Morton’s.
Here’s what Jonze had to say about the recasting in an e-mail yesterday:
I think, unfortunately, it’s pretty normal in terms of my not-quite-painless-for-everyone-involved ‘process’ of discovering what the movie is.
Samantha was with us on set and was amazing. It was only in post production, when we started editing, that we realized that what the character/movie needed was different from what Samantha and I had created together. So we recast and since then Scarlett has taken over that role.
I love Samantha. I’ve been friends with her forever and I hope we make lots of things together in the future.
Audiences in Los Angeles might get their first look (or listen) at Johansson in action this weekend: Jonze is expected to show clips from Her at the Los Angeles Film Festival during a Saturday night panel dedicated to the Being John Malkovich director’s ouevre.