Florence Pugh fought for Black Widow’s ‘involuntary hysterectomy’ joke

Black Widow doesn’t flinch when challenging the grislier elements of Natasha Romanoff’s past. Conscripted into training in the Red Space, required to enact violence in the name of Russia, and after that her own episode of revenge along with Clint Barton on the notorious Budapest objective … it’s all quite bleak. Which is why director Cate Shortland wished to turn Black Widow into among the funnier chapters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“What we tried to do was use humor to talk to the trauma,” she informs Polygon. “Most people in this film who’ve been victimized, are actually making jokes about that because they’re trying to overcome it.”

There’s no much better example of Shortland’s method than a minute in Black Widow in which Florence Pugh, as Yelena, advises her surrogate daddy Alexi (David Harbour) of one specific scary of the Red Space. Here’s how it plays out:

Alexi: Why the hostility, huh? Is it your time of the month?

Yelena: I don’t get my duration dipshit. I don’t have a uterus.

Natasha: Or ovaries.

Yelena: That’s what takes place when the Red Space offers you an involuntarily hysterectomy. They kinda simply enter and remove all your reproductive organs. They simply solve in there and slice them all away. So you can’t have infants.

Alexi: OK, OK, you don’t need to get so medical and nasty!

Yelena: I was simply going to discuss fallopian tubes…

The scene gets a thread from Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which Natahsa sets out to Bruce Banner in the gravest terms what takes place to the girls recorded by Dreykov (Ray Winstone).

In the Red Space, where I was trained, where I was raised, they have a graduation event. They disinfect you. It’s effective. One less thing to fret about. The something that may matter more than an objective. It makes whatever simpler. Even eliminating … You still believe you’re the only beast on the group?

According to Shortland, Pugh’s clapback wasn’t really in the script for Black Widow. In advancement for many years, the last movie’s story is credited to Jac Schaeffer (WandaVision) and Ned Benson (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby) with a script by Eric Pearson. After going into Marvel’s screenwriting program in 2010, Pearson went on to compose One-Shots in the early Stage 1 days, and has actually ended up being a go-to source of rewrites for the studio, with a co-writing credit on Thor: Ragnarok.

“So Eric, who is our writer, had written a joke about women being in bad moods because they have their period,” Shortland remembers. “And I remember Florence and Scarlet and I reading it and just being like, ‘Oh, my God, this is ridiculous.’”

The director states she practically cut the joke completely, however after going over with her stars, eventually chose to “answer it.” She didn’t clarify if that implied improvising on the day of or returning for standard rewrites, however the result was the last variation on uncontrolled hysterectomies.

“I love it,” Shortland states. “Because it’s like, if you’re gonna make that joke, I’m gonna unleash Florence Pugh on you. She’s gonna Yelena you. It’s one of my favorite moments in the film.”

For more from Shortland, read our complete interview. Black Widow is out now in theaters and on Disney Plus Premier Gain Access To.

Black Widow on Disney Plus

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.