Black Widow: Florence Pugh Talks About the Themes of Abuse in the Film

The Red Room of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and what exactly they did to those girls is one of those things that has been alluded to but we don't know exactly what they did. We got some idea in Avengers: Age of Ultron and we saw some of the early work they did in Agent Carter but if we were ever really going to learn what went on in that organization we needed a Black Widow movie. Ten years after she made her debut in Iron Man 2 Natasha Romanoff is still having a hard time getting her solo outing to the big screen. There are currently rumors that the movie might get delayed again but right now marketing is carrying on as usual. Total Film got the chance to talk to Florence Pugh who is playing Yelena and she talked about one of the main themes that Black Widow focuses on; the abuse of women and she steps toward overcoming that abuse.

"One of the most interesting things about the film is how far Cate went with it," Florence Pugh said. "This film is about the abuse of women. It's about how they get involuntary hysterectomies by the age of eight. It's about girls who are stolen from around the world. It's so painful, and it's so important. … Part of the excitement for me is that women and girls from around the world are going to see this, and are going to see an abuse story that really was challenged by its own victims. For a Marvel film to be reaching all of those levels, it is so exciting. The best thing about that is, it's not layered with this colour of grey. You'll see these women strive and be strong, and they're assassins – and yet they still need to discuss how they were abused. It's an incredibly powerful piece."

Black Widow Will Have Natasha Passing the Baton to Yelena
Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow (2020). Image Credit: Marvel Studios

The concept of young women getting hysterectomies without consent is something that has become extremely topical even in just the last few days as reports of that happening at detention centers have come to light. It sounds like Shortland and company didn't shy away from the horrific implications of the Red Room in Marvel Universe which is good. To tiptoe around it would be a disserve not only to the audience but to the character of Black Widow who has become extremely important to the pop culture landscape.

Black Widow, directed by Cate Shortland, stars Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel Weisz, and Ray Winstone. It is currently set to be released on November 6, 2020.

About Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on instagram. She's also a co-host at The Nerd Dome Podcast. Listen to it at

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