Scarlett Johansson was born in New York City. Her mother, Melanie Sloan, is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, and her father, Karsten Johansson, is Danish. She has a sister, Vanessa Johansson, who is also an actress, a brother, Adrian, a twin brother, Hunter Johansson, born three minutes after her, and a paternal half-brother, Christian. Her grandfather was writer Ejner Johansson. Johansson began acting during childhood, after her mother started taking her to auditions. She made her professional acting debut at the age of eight in the off-Broadway production of Sophistry with Ethan Hawke, at New Yorks Playwrights Horizons. She would audition for commercials but took rejection so hard her mother began limiting her to film tryouts. She made her film debut at the age of nine, as John Ritters characters daughter in the 1994 fantasy comedy, North (1994). Following minor roles in the 1995 film Just Cause (1995), as the daughter of Sean Connery and Kate Capshaws character, and If Lucy Fell (1996), she played the role of Amanda in Manny & Lo (1996). Her performance in Manny & Lo garnered a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female, and positive reviews, one noting, [the film] grows on you, largely because of the charm of ... Scarlett Johansson, while San Francisco Chronicle critic Mick LaSalle commentated on her peaceful aura, and wrote, If she can get through puberty with that aura undisturbed, she could become an important actress. After appearing in minor roles in Fall and Home Alone 3 in 1997, Johansson garnered widely spread attention for her performance in the 1998 film The Horse Whisperer (1998), directed by Robert Redford, where she played Grace MacLean, a teenager traumatized by a riding accident.