Johansson, Hathaway from 'Avengers' and 'Dark Knight Rises' faced Physical Challenges

By , Updated Apr 12, 2012 08:36 PM EDT

Scarlett Johansson, who plays "Black Widow" in The Avengers, strolled the red carpet with fellow cast stars at the movie premiere.  Being the sole female character in the male dominated superhero ensemble, Johansson faced challenges in preparing for her role.

Johansson dedicated months of intense workouts and training in preparation for her role as the undercover assassin Black Widow. Her physical preparation got her ready for grueling stunts with hand combat and fitting into a skin tight body suit. Aside from physical work, the mental state was also another difficulty Johansson had to overcome.

"The character is awesome because she's a mercenary -- there's no funny business," said Johansson. "So just being a mercenary -- how do you get to that place? You have to be so burdened."

"I think just kind of going back day after day, knowing that you're going to get the crap kicked out of you and you do it willingly is sort of a challenge in itself, a mental challenge. But also I have to say that every time you fail at a stunt, it hurts until you get it right," added the actress.

Fellow actress Anne Hathaway may be fully understanding of Johansson's workload.  Hathaway, who plays Catwoman in the upcoming Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises," graces the cover of Entertainment Weekly's next magazine issue in her Catwoman costume.

Director Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" is expected to bring a healthy dose of summer action and hand-to-hand combat among the actors' performances.  Hathaway has her own challenges in preparing for the action role and fitting into a skin-tight bodysuit of her own.  

"I had to physically transform," said Hathaway in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "Chris sat me down at the beginning and said, 'Joseph Gordon-Levitt did all of his own fighting in 'Inception.' That one zero-gravity fight? He trained for two months."

"I basically left his office and went to the gym and just came out about five minutes ago," she joked.

The Catwoman actress said that she fully committed herself to grueling workouts and performing her own stunts.  Her routine involved workouts five days a week, stunt training, and dance lessons.

"I've always thought that skinny was the goal, but with this job I also have to be strong,"

Both superhero ladies will look to  see if their hard work pays off as The Avengers hit theatres on May 4 while The Dark Knight Rises comes out on July 20.

Check out photos of Johansson and Hathaway in their new Black Widow and Catwoman bodysuits.  Click "START" to begin.


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