The Scoop on ScarJo’s Directing Debut

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

She beguiled Bill Murray in Japan, served as Woody Allen's muse (for a while), and kicked some serious butt as Black Widow. Now Scarlett Johansson is about to tackle a new challenge – proving she's as talented behind the camera as she is on the big screen.

It was announced Thursday that Scarlett Johansson will be making her first feature film as a director with an adaptation of Truman Capote's novel "Summer Crossing." Aldamisa Entertainment are backing the project, and will be shopping the film to foreign markets at the Cannes Film Festival, which opened on Wednesday and will run through May 26.

"Several years ago, I began working alongside the Capote estate and writer Tristine Skylar to adapt 'Summer Crossing,' an inspired early work of Truman's which has long captured my heart," Johansson said in a statement. "Being able to bring this story to the screen as my full length directorial debut is a life dream and deep privilege."

Set in the mid-1940s, Capote's "Summer Crossing" tells the story of a young woman of seventeen who has been raised in a wealthy and privileged. That summer, while her family vacations in Paris, she opts to stay home, and pursues a romance with a Jewish parking attendant. "Summer Crossing" was the first novel Capote completed, when he was just 19 years old, but the author was unhappy with the results and he tossed the manuscript in the trash. However, the janitor at Capote's apartment building saved it, and in 2004 it made its way back to Capote's estate, who arranged for it to be published.

While Johansson has never directed a feature film before, in 2009 she made a short subject called "These Vagabond Shoes," which featured Kevin Bacon and Saul Williams. "Summer Crossing" now has a director and a script, but there has been no word on casting yet; though she's a bit old at 28 to be playing the leading role of a 17-year-old debutante, no one has yet ruled out that Johansson might appear in a supporting role, which could help her film in the marketplace.