The actress received an "introducing" credit on this film, although it was her seventh role.
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." 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 had bleached her eyebrows to better resemble the subject of Johannes Vermeer's painting.
In Peter Webber's Girl with a Pearl Earring, which is based on the novel of same name by Tracy Chevalier, Johansson played Griet, a young 17th-century servant in the household of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (played by English actor Colin Firth).
Her father, Karsten Olaf Johansson, is an architect originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, and her paternal grandfather, Ejner Johansson, was an art historian, screenwriter and film director, whose own father was Swedish.
She was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards for these films, and for playing an estranged teenager in the drama A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004), and a seductress in the psychological thriller Match Point (2005).
Johansson later appeared in My Brother the Pig (1999) and in the neo-noir, Coen brothers film The Man Who Wasn't There (2001).Johansson's first leading role was as Amanda, the younger sister of a pregnant teenager who runs away from her foster home in Manny & Lo (1996) alongside Aleksa Palladino and her brother, Hunter.Her performance received positive reviews: one written for the San Francisco Chronicle noted, "[the film] grows on you, largely because of the charm of ...On Johansson's maturity, Redford described her as "13 going on 30".On finding good roles as a teenager, Johansson said it was hard for her as adults wrote the scripts and they "portray kids like mall rats and not seriously ...Scarlett Johansson," while critic Mick La Salle, writing for the same paper, commented on her "peaceful aura", and believed, "If she can get through puberty with that aura undisturbed, she could become an important actress." The drama film, based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Nicholas Evans, tells the story of a talented trainer with a gift for understanding horses, who is hired to help an injured teenager played by Johansson.