The actress plays the title character in the new Spider-Man spin-off, but speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, she said that a project like this was never on the cards.
"I never saw myself doing a superhero movie," she said, "but I really love the idea of a superhero being a young woman whose power was her mind and her intellect. I find that really powerful."
Johnson's character, Cassandra Webb, is a New York paramedic who discovers she has the power to see the future and has to use this power to protect three young women – played by Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O'Connor and Isabella Merced.
Madame Web faces mental rather than physical battles, and the actress said this changed how she approached the role.
"I think it's more internal, and really trusting my director SJ [Clarkson] to know that we were translating smaller things, more nuanced performances. Yeah, it came from a more subtle, nuanced place," she said.
While it was an unexpected role for Johnson, Madame Web director Clarkson was full of praise for the actress, explaining why she was perfect for the part.
She said: "She is such a brilliant actor. All the work she’s done to date from Suspiria, The Lost Daughter, A Bigger Splash... Everything she has been in I absolutely loved her.
"I wasn't sure if she would ever contemplate doing a superhero character, but I think because this woman is so grounded and we both talked about the psychological nature of it, which was really exciting."
Clarkson continued: "She has such depth and breadth as an actor, she is such an incredible person and has a big heart. She came in and really wanted to find the nuance and pathos of the character. It's really important to keep it grounded, because even if it is a superhero world, the more grounded it is the more relatable it is."
Madame Web is released in cinemas on February 14.
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