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Black Widow cast and crew break down their familial chemistry and acting with pigs

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Is there anything more uncomfortable than a family dinner? Even the most loving, supportive households can occasionally turn awkward when sitting down together at the kitchen table. Someone starts harping about someone's table manners, someone else brings up that thing that happened years ago that they still haven't forgotten. It's especially the case if you and your relatives haven't seen each other in a while — like if, say, you were all part of an undercover Soviet spy family together, and you've just reunited after being estranged for more than a decade.

Such is the case in Black Widow, which follows Marvel's redheaded assassin-turned-Avenger as she reunites with the Russian family she hasn't seen in years. Like its predecessors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Natasha Romanoff's long-awaited solo movie is packed with the kind of explosions and fistfights you expect from a comic book flick, but there are also much quieter moments of familial introspection. It's a love story, in a way — a love story between relatives who frequently want to beat the crap out of each other (and occasionally do), but ultimately find an unconventional kinship.

With Black Widow finally hitting theaters and Disney+ today, EW gathered Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, director Cate Shortland, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige for an edition of Around the Table, breaking down the movie's long journey to screens and their unconventional family dynamic.

"The tone comes from the character," Shortland explains. "[Natasha] has beautiful light and shade in her, and she had so much emotional landscape that hadn't been explored. We start the film where she's kind of afraid. She's afraid of the possibility of life because all she knows is to be in opposition to another person. She doesn't know how to be an individual. So it was really beautiful starting with that very small moment with Scarlett when she's alone, and then gradually we introduce all these other characters, and those characters open her up to the world. By the end, they're this beautiful, formidable team or community or family."

Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios Rachel Weisz, Scarlett Johansson, and Florence Pugh in 'Black Widow'

"I get giddy just being around them and become this doofus entertainer because there is this dynamic that exists between us and existed very early on," Harbour adds. "I think Cate is very smart and generous to be able to go, 'Let's capture some of that. Let's let these people really live in that way.' A lot of other films on this scale won't let the actors do that, and I think they suffer for that. So it's very smart and it's very special."

In the video above, the actors and filmmakers open up about finding that chemistry, from navigating that awkward dinner table scene to the time Harbour and Pugh improvised their big musical moment together.

But all agree that they bonded the most over a brief scene at Melina's house, where she shows off the pigs she's been raising — special pigs from New Zealand, Shortland is quick to add. "We loved those pigs," the director says with a laugh. "We loved them like they're our own family."

"It was extraordinary," Weisz added. "They upstaged us quite often, didn't they?"

Black Widow is now playing in theaters and via Disney+ premier access. Watch the full Around the Table episode above.

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