If there is someone who revolutionized Marvel fans with her debut, it was Florence Pugh and her fun and cheeky Yelena Belova, whom we got to meet at Black widow with Scarlet Johansson. However, it must be said, the name of Pugh was not the first to sound to give life to this widow. The first rumors spoke of Emma Watson to join the MCU with this role … but things ended up tilting in favor of the protagonist of Midsommar. Why We tell you how Pugh got to be our Yelena.
Black widow: How the role of Yelena Belova went to Florence Pugh
It was the year 2019 when the first information related to the production of Black widow, which was kicking off with its start-up. That’s when Emma Watson was said to be director Cate Shortland’s preferred choice to be Yelena Belova, while Marvel executives Kevin Feige and Brad Winderbaum seemed to support the idea.
Thanks to his experience in sagas like Harry Potter, as well as in Beauty and the Beast or the new version of Little Women, the executives hoped that Watson could give Yelena a different twist to the character. However … it was Florence Pugh’s name that was finally put on the table, beating out other contenders for the role: Saoirse Ronan, Alice Englert and Dar Zuzovsky were also among the candidates.
But none was like Florence Pugh
There were two works by Pugh that managed to convince Marvel executives to finish signing her as Yelena Belova: although director Shortland was declared a fan of her Lady macbeth, from a more technical sense also highly valued his performance in Fighting as a family, where she played Saraya-Jade Bevis. Her role as a retired professional wrestler demonstrated that Pugh had the ability to handle a very physically demanding role, while maintaining the naturalness and charisma that make Yelena a unique character.
At the same time, it was important that Pugh was able to match Johansson’s energy, considering that they both played two characters who have a sibling relationship. What’s more, they needed someone who would be able to carry Natasha Romanoff’s legacy on their shoulders. In this regard, her background for gymnastics and dance also played in her favor, allowing the young actress to perform most of her stunt scenes. In other words: it seemed that he was born to embody such a character.
Florence Pugh supervised her own diet and training
Pugh herself also set her own conditions for playing Yelena: for example, she refused to follow a strict regimen to fit Hollywood standards. She supervised her own diet and training herself, and brought home-cooked food to the set. With this temperament, skills and sense of humor, they made her the ideal candidate to be Yelena Belova. His performance even earned him to be considered for the Oscars.