If that sounds like a different Bill Murray from the one you know, remember that Japan does tend to be a little undersexed. "In Japan, nobody looks at anybody," Johansson says. "They just look forward. Which for me was weird—I have a terrible staring problem."

With Pearl Earring due in December, followed by The Perfect Score, a teens-steal-SAT-answers comedy, she'll be on the other end of all that staring soon enough. (Actually, people are staring now as she does a creepy impression of Willy Wonka's Slugworth.)


The trailer for The Perfect Score.


On Monday she's off to New Orleans for a gig with John Travolta—she's convinced he's still hip—before heading to Europe for an adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan. Someone should tell the faculty at SUNY Purchase: They think she's enrolled this fall to study directing. She's given up on high school, too—she just jettisoned her senior-year sweetheart and bought a two-bedroom spread in West Hollywood. "I'm a New Yorker, but L.A. is a nice place to be if you can't be home," she says. But then, just as you begin to believe Johansson really is a grizzled bicoastal shuttler, she polishes off a tray of Phoenix rolls and lets the sarcastic teenager out of the box: "Thank you, Details, for the expensive fish."

She seems mildly embarrassed when her smarmy chauffeur shows up. She prefers to motor herself in her shiny new BMW Z4 convertible now that she's finally scored a license after nearly failing the road test for being "too cautious." "I'm big-pimpin'," she says. "But I drive like an old woman." And sound like an old man.