As moviegoers know, It Girl Scarlett Johansson is scooping up rave reviews for Lost in Translation. But while that film allowed her to wise off and show off her singing talent, she's practically mute in Girl with a Pearl Earring (opening Dec. 12). Set in Holland circa 1665, Girl tells the tale of a young housemaid's romance with her married employer ( Colin Firth). Back then, servants didn't speak until spoken to. So was it difficult for the 19-year-old star to act with so few lines?

"I think that everyone's emotions are conveyed on their face most of the time," Johansson tells TV Guide Online. "Sometimes, words can be sort of deceiving, and even as you're speaking, it's what is showing on your face that gives you away. [The film] was quite a delight, actually. I didn't have to fumble with awkward dialogue. I was able to just be it and do it.

"It was just an amazing script, and it is so visually stimulating," she continues. "There was nothing excessive about it. It wasn't cheesy dialogue like, 'I'm so in love with you, and we can't be together!' It was just all apparent on the page and it was beautiful."

Girl's simple period costumes were also more comfortable for Johansson than those pink, see-through panties she sported for the opening scene of Lost in Translation. The shy thesp admits director Sofia Coppola had some convincing to do on the day they shot that one: "I said, 'Sofia, I don't want to wear sheer underwear because I've just been eating a lot of [Japanese udon noodles], and I'm bloated. I just don't want to do it. Can't we just use regular underwear with my ass crack [showing]?'"

In response, Coppola assuaged Johansson's fears about the panties by modeling them for her! "Sofia's got such a nice figure," Johansson says. "I thought, 'Wow, if my ass is going to look like that in those underwear, get them on me.'"

Chuckling, she adds, "I told [director of photography Eduardo Serra], 'If my ass doesn't look good in this shot, you'll never work in this town again.' I bullied him into lighting it nicely."