The writer of Black Widow has explained why a “lame” joke about periods made its way into the movie’s final cut.
During the exchange, Shortland brought up a joke that is heard in the movie when Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff and Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova break Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) out of prison.
Once all three make it safely back into a helicopter, Harbour’s character asks Romanoff and Belova whether they’re in a bad mood because they’re on their period.
“Scarlett, Florence, and I were like, ‘Are you serious?’ We were so angry with him,” Shortland told Elle.com of their initial reaction to the line.
However, additional conversations with Pearson brought another dimension to the line.
Pearson told Elle.com he realised it was the type of “lame” comment a man like Shostakov might make, and that he envisioned the context as: “Let’s get him back with his two girls, who’ve just gone through this great deal of effort to get into the situation, and let’s just have him ruin it immediately; that’s what I was thinking.”
In the movie, the joke turns into an opportunity for Romanoff and Belova to not only protest Shostakov’s comment, but also to acknowledge the forced hysterectomies they were subjected to as Widows.
“Instead of cutting it out, we decided to answer it, and I think that’s the strength of the film,” Shortland added. “We tried to address it with humor.”
Black Widow is out now in cinemas in the US and in the UK, and is also available to stream on Disney+.