Scarlett Johansson lent her voice to the role of an AI voice assistant, Samantha, in the Oscar-nominated film, Her. Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Theodore Twombly, develops a romantic relationship with Samantha, forming the crux of this sci-fi romance film’s story. However, the original voice actress, Samantha Morton, was replaced in the post-production stage of the film.
Samantha Morton, a two-time Oscar-nominated actress, did not fit the vision of the director, Spike Jonze. Johansson didn’t disappoint the director with her performance, which even made the Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix uncomfortable.
Scarlett Johansson Replaced Samantha Morton In Her
Her boasted an ensemble cast, including Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, and Chris Pratt, to name a few. Samantha Morton, known for her role in In America, was also part of this talented cast until post-production. Morton was present on set during filming, but it wasn’t until editing that Spike Jonze realized that Morton’s voice did not work the way he intended.
Spike Jonze explained the situation in a quick email to Vulture at the time. He informed movie lovers that Scarlett Johansson had replaced Morton in the film, and that he hoped to create something better in the future with Morton. With only a handful of movies to his credit, Her being his last directed feature film, it appeared that Jonze had a clear idea about his output. Jonze’s email to Vulture read:
“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.
Interestingly, Jonze had conceived the idea for the film as early as the 2000s and added elements of his personal life, like his divorce from Sofia Coppola. With Johansson added as the new cast member, several additional scenes were filmed for the movie, including the one that made Joaquin Phoenix upset.
Joaquin Phoenix Lost It While Filming Virtual S*x Scene With Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson was more than happy to accept the voice role in the film, and her performance received critical acclaim. During an appearance on the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard, Johansson recalled one particular scene in the film that made her co-star uncomfortable. In this scene, Johansson’s voice assistant engages in a virtual s*x scene with Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore.
The Master actor couldn’t match the intensity with which Johansson was performing the voice role, and he became incredibly upset. As Johansson shared, the Inherent Vice actor left the studio to take a break before resuming filming. The Lost in Translation actress told Armchair Expert:
“I’ve become that actor that’s like, ‘Let’s get dirty.’ I have to because otherwise, I’ll be petrified. Joaquin comes in, we try to get through one take, and he was, like, losing it. He was like, ‘I can’t do it.’ I was fine. Joaquin was not – he was so upset about it. He left the studio, and now I’m in this box by myself, and I’m like, ‘I can’t do it alone. I need him to come back.’ He needed a break; he took a break, and he came back in.”
It is unknown whether the situation was the same with Samantha Morton in the role as well. However, the Marvel actress managed to break the DC actor, who’s a recipient of the Best Actor Oscar for his insane depiction of the Joker. Her is now available for rent on AppleTV+.