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Scarlett Johansson Stopped Saudi Crown Prince From Funding Biopic About Heroic Journalist

'Scarlett Johansson said absolutely not. She said, "This guy is perpetuating the war in Yemen. He has women in prison"'

Scarlett Johansson at the 70th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 17, 2018 REUTERS/Kyle Grill
REUTERS/Kyle Grill

A Hollywood biopic based on the life of U.S. photojournalist Lynsey Addario is making headlines amid the Jamal Khashoggi murder scandal. Warner Bros is producing a film based on Addario’s memoir, “It’s What I Do,” that is set to be directed by Ridley Scott and to star Scarlett Johansson.

However, according to the Intercept, one other famous name was almost attached to the project - Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. MBS was reportedly interested in being one of the initial funders of the project.

However, in Facebook Live interview with the New York Times’s Nicholas Kristof on Tuesday, Addario revealed how he was booted from the project.

“Scarlett Johansson said absolutely not. She said, ‘This guy is perpetuating the war in Yemen. He has women in prison,'” Addario told Kristof.

Live with Photojournalist Lynsey Addario

“This was before the killing of Khashoggi,” she added.

>> 'Bring me the head of the dog': How top MBS aide ran Khashoggi's killing via Skype ■ Like a mafia boss, Erdogan plans to milk the Khashoggi investigation for all it’s worth

This is not the first time Johansson and Addario have been on different sides of headlines. Johansson received criticism from the BDS movement for being a spokesperson for Israel company SodaStream, which at the time operated in the West Bank. Addario, on the other hand, made headlines for being "forced to remove her clothes and subjected to physical search by the Israeli military."

“This was basically, as far as you can tell, a public relations effort by the Saudi crown prince to associate himself with journalism at its finest, a female, empowered journalist, at the same time that he is preparing to, it looks like, torture and murder one of Saudi Arabia’s own leading journalists,” Kristof summarized.

“I didn’t meet with him personally. But my sense is that he probably — my movie got folded into this huge charm campaign. And that fact that he wanted to show the West that he was into Hollywood, he was into all the great things of the West,” she replied. “Do I want him associated with this movie? Obviously not. And thank God he’s not.”