Born and raised in Manhattan, New York City, she aspired to be an actress from a young age, and first appeared on stage in an Off Broadway play as a child.
She made her film debut in the fantasy comedy North (1994) and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Manny & Lo (1996).
Determined, she decided to become an actress anyway.
She enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, and began auditioning for commercials, but soon lost interest: "I didn't want to promote Wonder Bread." Around this time, she began studying at Professional Children's School (PCS), a private educational institution for aspiring child actors in Manhattan.
In Peter Webber's Girl with a Pearl Earring, which is based on the novel of same name by Tracy Chevalier, Johansson played Griet, a young 17th-century servant in the household of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (played by English actor Colin Firth).
Webber interviewed 150 girls before Johansson was cast for the part. She had something distinctive about her." In his review for The New Yorker, Anthony Lane thought that her presence kept the film "alive", writing, "She is often wordless and close to plain onscreen, but wait for the ardor with which she can summon a closeup and bloom under its gaze; this is her film, not Vermeer's, all the way." Johansson had five releases in 2004, three of which—the teen heist film The Perfect Score, the drama A Love Song for Bobby Long, and the drama A Good Woman, adapted from Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan—were critical and commercial failures.
Johansson shown at the premiere of Girl with a Pearl Earring at Toronto International Film Festival in 2003.
At age seven, she was devastated when a talent agent signed one of her brothers instead of her.
Kids and teenagers just aren't being portrayed with any real depth." Johansson's first leading role was as Amanda, the younger sister of a pregnant teenager who runs away from her foster home in Manny & Lo (1996) alongside Aleksa Palladino and her brother, Hunter.
Her performance received positive reviews: one written for the San Francisco Chronicle noted, "[the film] grows on you, largely because of the charm of ...
I always had the chance to do whatever I wanted to do, my parents were very open about that [...] Acting has been a passion of mine.
I wanted to be in musicals as a kid, and took tap dance, so for me it's a dream come true, my childhood was filled with things that I loved to do, and also very normal things: I lived in New York, I have a family life and went to a regular school.
; born November 22, 1984) is an American actress and singer.