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Q&A; with

The Baltimore Sun

You kiss Penelope Cruz, exchange a few e-mails with Barack Obama, get engaged to heartthrob Ryan Reynolds, and what? People talk?!

Well, if you're Scarlett Johansson, they do.

But the 23-year-old New Yorker has a few things of her own to say about what people are saying.

And, by the way, you'll be seeing a lot more of Johansson soon ... and we're not talking about the sex scene in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which now is in theaters.

She's got two more highly anticipated films on the horizon - the comic-strip adaptation The Spirit and the star-studded take on the relationship advice best-seller He's Just Not That Into You.

In VCB, Johansson's third Woody Allen film, she plays Cristina, one of two American girls who get romantically involved with a pair of wild Spaniards played by Javier Bardem and Cruz. It's funny and sexy and one of the more notable entries in a filmography that's been growing at a blistering pace since her Lost in Translation breakthrough five years ago.

But despite all the craziness, the smoky-voiced Johansson seems unaffected by all her fame.

Cristina likes reckless, passionate encounters, then loses interest. Your thoughts on that approach to love?

My character certainly has that philosophy that love needs to be tumultuous and painful and this tug-of-war to be visceral and real. I don't think I feel that way; it seems exhausting to feel that way, and it seems very temporary, as well.

Cristina ends up in a menage a trois and kisses Penelope Cruz. Some have found this a bit shocking.

People are so conservative it's, like, ridiculous. It's so not a big deal in the film. These characters are in love with each other.

It's not like I was biting my nails down to the bone wondering how I was going to deal with this. Somebody said to me earlier, "This is Woody's steamiest film!" Those words together are so ridiculous. From all the press we got out of this one kiss, you'd think it was like Bertolucci or something.

This is your third Allen film. Do you want to keep working with him?

I hope so, yeah. We always have such a nice time working together and it feels really fulfilling. I'm always sad when it's over and happy when it starts. It makes every day a pleasure to come to the set and see his little smiling face.

You've gotten grief for mentioning that you've exchanged e-mails with Barack Obama. Does that bother you?

It does bother me in the sense that it belittles the purpose of my involvement and the work that I've done for the campaign. There are such trivial comments on these media message boards. I don't even know what to say about it at this point; I feel like it's been beaten to death.

I was merely trying to express my enthusiasm for a candidate who is so involved in every aspect of the campaign. A lot of people have asked why he would correspond or care about what I think. OK, I may make a couple of movies a year, but there are issues - large issues - out there that really affect all of us that have nothing to do with me, so I think it's great that Obama wants to know about every aspect of his campaign and who's working for him.

Unfortunately, I got painted into this corner for expressing that.

Congratulations on your engagement to Ryan Reynolds. Have you set a date yet?

I mean, we have really just gotten engaged. We're going to figure it out, but I don't want to rush into something. Not that it would ever be a rush, but we want to enjoy our time together now. It's nice to just be young and engaged; it's fun.

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