Scarlett Johansson is a busy woman. She’s basically the only woman managing all the testosterone-laden heroes of The Avengers movie series and she only became a first-time mother a few weeks ago. You’d think she’d take a well-earned break from work. However, last week news emerged that the 29-year-old actress was taking on the lead role in a television miniseries. The show is based on Edith Wharton’s early 20th century novel The Custom of the Country and ScarJo has quite the Emmy-award-winning-sounding role. She’ll play a young woman who persuades her family to move from the American Midwest to bustling New York City in order to help her out social climb Becky Sharp. The series is to be scripted by Christopher Hampton, whose past endeavours include Atonement and Dangerous Liaisons – maybe that’s why Johansson signed on the dotted line?
Here we look at other actresses leaving the big screen behind for more complex roles in television…
Maggie Gyllenhaal has always been something of a dark horse – after all she came to everyone’s attention in the very dark romantic comedy drama Secretary – therefore her recent move to television wasn’t a huge shock. This actress always follows the script and this summer her BBC series, The Honourable Woman, was splendid. Gyllenhaal was the woman of the title, Nessa Stein, an international businesswoman who finds her Israeli heritage and business interests conflicting after the suspicious death of a Palestinian colleague. Intense, complex, we’re imploring you to by the DVD.
Katie Holmes has possible one of the most scattered Hollywood careers of all. From charming a generation as Joey Potter in Dawson’s Creek to the most speculated divorce in recent showbiz history, Holmes’ career never reached the heights it initially promised. In the past 24 hours it was reported the actress was returning to screens as Jackie Kennedy after portraying the iconic woman in tepid mini-series The Kennedys in 2010. This sequel of sorts is called After Camelot and plans on premiering in 2016. While the announcement has raised brows, the deal Holmes struck sees her serving as an executive producer and directing one episode. Girl got a good deal.
Viola Davis in one of the most respected actresses out there – first taking Broadway by storm in the early noughties and recently conquering the awards circuit with nominations and wins for Doubt and The Help. With such a starry CV it makes sense to see her going the way of former co-star Meryl Streep and attracting Oscar speculation every year. Davis however is now the lead in Shonda Rhimes new television show, How to Get Away with Murder, a legal drama. Considering Shonda has a Midas touch when it comes to showrunning – see Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy – perhaps Viola is the cleverest of all.
Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun