Scarlett Johansson explains why it was “hard” working with Bill Murray

Following the release of The Virgin Suicides in 1999, Sofia Coppola got to work on her second feature, Lost in Translation, which earned her an Academy Award for ‘Best Original Screenplay’.

The movie starred Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as an unlikely duo who meet in Japan. Both characters face their own personal battles with loneliness – Murray, an ageing, failing actor named Bob, and Johansson, the young wife of a pH๏τographer.




The pair discover they have more in common than meets the eye, bonding over their shared lack of certainty regarding their lifestyles and future plans.

Despite their age, gender and career differences, Bob and Charlotte provide each other with vital understanding and kinship. The expansive city, lined with bright advertisements and bustling with people, makes for the perfect backdrop for Coppola’s exploration of loneliness, often framing a solitary Charlotte in front of a window overlooking the mᴀsses of human activity below.


Watch a fan join Billie Joe Armstrong on stage for a rendition of ‘Good Riddance’

Lost in Translation marked one of Johansson’s first forays into adult roles, following a career as a child actor in the 1990s. Coppola had written the movie with Johansson and Murray in mind, taking inspiration from the dissolution of her marriage to director Spike Jonze. For Johansson, the film launched her to further acclaim, highlighting her ability to master emotionally complex roles. Despite only being 17, the actor mastered her craft from the get-go, possessing talent way beyond her years.

However, Johansson revealed to Howard Stern that shooting Lost in Translation and working with an esteemed star like Murray was “hard”. Although she was “so excited to work with” Murray, she explained that “it was such a strange space that we were in… we made that film in something crazy like 27 days.”

She added: “It was a hard shoot for me. I felt sort of out of the loop. I was 17 years old when I made that movie.”

Discussing Murray’s presence on set, she explained, “He’s a comedian. He’s quirky. He had a lot of ups and downs. He had a lot of energy. He was really always on. And I was a 17-year-old, and I was more introspective.”

When probed by Stern to reveal whether she felt intimated in the actor’s presence, Johansson replied, “Yeah, it was hard for me. That’s what was kinda isolating about it – everybody was so deferential.”

However, she ᴀsserted that she “was relaxed” while filming, even though she was “in a different headspace” to Murray, with the pair finding it “hard to relate to one another.” Still, she believes that when the cameras began rolling, “we worked really well together”.

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