As a child, Johansson practiced acting by staring in the mirror until she made herself cry, wanting to be Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis. At age seven, she was devastated when a talent agent signed one of her brothers instead of her, but she later 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. " She shifted her focus to film and theater, making her first stage appearance in the Off-Broadway play Sophistry with Ethan Hawke, in which she had two lines. Around this time, she began studying at Professional Children's School (PCS), a private educational institution for aspiring child actors in Manhattan. At age nine, Johansson made her film debut as John Ritter's daughter in the fantasy comedy North (1994). She says that when she was on the film set, she knew intuitively what to do. Johansson later played minor roles including as the daughter of Sean Connery and Kate Capshaw's characters in the mystery thriller Just Cause (1995), and an art student in If Lucy Fell (1996).
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