Interview Scarlett Johansson

BBC Films, December 17, 2003
By Stephen Applebaum

Scarlett Johansson achieved worldwide recognition for her performance as a traumatised teen in The Horse Whisperer, and she has not looked back since. Defying typecasting, her eclectic CV includes Ghost World, the Coen brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There, and Eight Legged Freaks. She will soon be seen opposite Colin Firth in Girl With A Pearl Earring, and recently finished filming A Love Song For Bobby Long with John Travolta.

What was your first experience of Tokyo?

Driving two hours from the airport to the city. I kept passing all these buildings like McDonald’s and it looked like Chicago. I thought, 'This is Tokyo? I don't get it.' All of a sudden, in the distance, there was this big glowing thing, and there it was: the city. My eyeballs were so wide. It was very bright, very loud, and very fast. I'm from New York so the pace didn't throw me. But it was very different and I felt very foreign.

Did you see your character as someone based on Sofia?

I would never say I was playing Sofia, because I wasn't. But I do think the story and the characters are close to her. If you meet Sofia but don't spend a lot of time with her, she is very reserved. So I think for a lot of people this film will be the closest they ever get to her. Bill has this humour and sense of irony, and my character has this feeling of being totally confused and uncomfortable in her own skin - I think those are all parts of Sofia at one time or other.

Would you contemplate a relationship with an older man like your character in the film?

Having a relationship with somebody with that age difference is quite strange because you're both at different stages in your life. But I think falling in love with somebody at that age is a different story. You don't control who you fall in love with and I don't think age has anything to do with that. But I don't think you can have a healthy relationship with somebody that's that much older than you. I suppose you can have a short relationship, but I can't see something like that lasting terribly long.

Are you a Bill Murray fan?

I was raised on Bill Murray movies. Groundhog Day is one of favouritest movies ever! My favourite scene with him in Lost In Translation is when he's on the treadmill. I saw it for the first time right before we did ADR and I was laughing out loud. I think that's so funny.

You do karaoke in the movie. Have you ever done it for fun?

I had done it before and we did go once before we started shooting, which was fun. I always do House Of The Rising Sun. You got to, it is such a good karaoke song. Mom and I do a fantastic rendition. We sound exactly like The Animals. So I do like to do karaoke. I have to have a couple of drinks first and then I do a great Cher impression.

Lost In Translation is released in UK cinemas on Friday 9th January 2003.

Fact File

Date of Birth: 22 November 1984
Famous For: Being 20-years-old and sounding like a 40-year-old smoker
Infamous For: Eight Legged Freaks
Soundbite: On her husky voice: "I'm so tired of hearing casting directors ask if I have a sore throat"
Useless Fact: Has a twin brother
What we really want to know: Did she ever notice how much she looks like Sofia Coppola?