What is under Scarlett Johansson’s skin?

Now that The Avengers is in post-production, Scarlett Johansson – widely recognized as one of the sexiest women in Hollywood – is working on Under the Skin.

Recently, several photographs appeared online, showing the actress in-character, and on set in Glasgow.

Under the Skin appears to be a reimagining of the terrible 90’s horror film Species – in which an alien comes to earth, disguises itself as an attractive woman, and eats the men attracted to her after hunting them down in clubs and bars. 

Of course, that is just the short synopsis, but the film will hopefully be a bit deeper, as it’s based on a novel which draws a more complex plot-line.

The darkly satirical novel is about an alien who exists in a more civilized society than is typically depicted on alien worlds.

The protagonist, Isserley, works for a huge conglomerate corporation of her home world. She’s a hunter, and it’s her job to collect humans from Earth so they can be fattened up and slaughtered for food, a delicacy where she comes from.

She forms a relationship with her boss’s son, who doesn’t agree with the practice of eating Earthlings, and it changes her outlook, putting her in danger professionally and emotionally.

To avoid spoilers, I won’t say just what happens, but the resolution of the novel is a bit passive, which was the primary issue that most of the critics have with the tale, so don’t expect the film to end quite the same way as the book.

Of course, the novel is an obvious allegory for consumerism and a statement on rampant capitalism, which makes this a particularly great time to craft the adaptation. The film could be anything from a twisted talky to a horror thriller, and the studio hasn’t yet mentioned a planned genre yet beyond ‘sci-fi’ which can mean virtually anything.

Like anything else, it could turn out terrible, but Johansson has a history of choosing great projects, even early in her career, and I’d like to think that she took the part because she sees something valuable in it.

Filming for Under the Skin is already underway and  wiill hit theaters sometime in 2012.