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Scarlett Johannson
by Barney Battles
Unlike many young stars, she does not come from a particularly wealthy or connected family. But Scarlett Johansson was dealt the right hand to fulfill her destiny. She was born in New York City, where artistic opportunities abound. She was exposed to cinema at a young age. She even had that rare presence that no casting director can ignore.

But it is another factor—her wandering, fiery spirit—that has made her one of the most enigmatic actors working today. In the upcoming film Her, Scarlett plays a sentient computer program who falls in love with a man. As the buzz surrounding her performance grows, there seems no limit to how adventurous and creative this Sagittarius can be.

Scarlett Johannson was born on the 22nd of November, 1984. This gives her the Western sign of Sagittarius and the Chinese sign of Rat. If you were to make a list of the best places for a Sag to grow up, New York would be near the top. It brings a constant sense of energy and fire. People are famously blunt, ambitions run high, and the stunning diversity lets you travel the world in a few square miles. Indeed, describing New York is a lot like describing Sagittarius itself! Symbolised by the archer with his arrows flying through the air, this fire sign is always in search of the next big challenge.

It comes as no surprise, then, that Scarlett hit the ground running in the Big Apple. It’s said that when she was only three years old, she said to her mother, “I have a fire in my brain to act.” This was a clear indication of her Sagittarius nature: driven, creative and fiery. The usual starting blocks—dance classes and TV adverts—led to her first off-Broadway role at the age of 7. Movie roles began to arrive shortly after that, and by the age of 11, her performance in the 1996 film Manny & Lo had earned her a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award. Still, when it came to the mainstream success her spirit craved, Scarlett had a long road ahead of her.

How did Scarlett’s Chinese sign influence her as she worked her way up the ultra-competitive ladder of child stardom? A tireless scavenger and expert networker, Rat is considered among the luckiest signs of the Chinese zodiac. It brings a work ethic and determination that is difficult to match, and blesses its natives a shrewd business sense. Scarlett would have used everything at her disposal to get the competitive edge, letting no contact or opportunity pass her by. Sagittarius, likewise, is determined to reach any goal it has set. This combination of psychic forces may explain how Scarlett, at the tender age of 13, found herself opposite Robert Redford in the highly-acclaimed film The Horse Whisperer. Yet even this—a good performance in a standout film— was not enough to propel her to stardom.

At this stage in her career, the negative side of Sagittarius began to show. As one of the four mutable signs that marks a change of season (along with Gemini, Virgo and Pisces), Sag is prone to indecision and aimless wandering. Scarlett continued to work on-screen during her high school years, and landed some decent roles, but there were also some bombs (e.g. Eight-Legged Freaks), and viewing audiences did not especially take notice of her. Then, after graduating high school in 2002, she applied to study film at Purchase University in New York, and was denied acceptance to the program.

Having it to do over again, the admissions committee probably would have let her in. The following year, Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation finally etched Scarlett Johannson into the public imagination. The film itself was imbued with Sagittarian spirit—a momentary, fleeting spark between two characters marks the transition from one phase of life to another. In fact, Scarlett’s own spiritual energy is arguably what made the film resonate so strongly with audiences.

Lost in Translation was also a reflection her off-screen love life, which has been characterised by stops and starts with some of Hollywood’s sexiest men (Jared Leto, Josh Hartnett, Justin Timberlake to name a few). Sagittarius loves a burst of new romance—but is often looking to move on before things get complicated. Commitment is one of the few things this sign tends to fear. When Scarlett divorced actor Ryan Reynolds after only two years, it seemed as though she might be a romantic gypsy for life, preferring the free-spirited approach in matters of love. But September 2013 found her wearing another engagement ring—this time not from a movie star, but from a New York advertising executive.

Only time will tell whether this wild horse can be broken. But with two science fiction films releasing this year (the aforementioned Her, and the highly-anticipated thriller Under the Skin), Scarlett’s creative force is only getting freer and stronger as she moves into a more mature phase of her career. Surely the Rat and archer have many more surprises in store.

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