Q&A;: Scarlett Johansson

Movies.Com, September 19, 2003

How closely did working in Tokyo parallel the experience that Charlotte has, being in this culture?
It was so foreign. I'm from Manhattan. I mean, it's not the pace of it that's so different, but it's everything. The language, the food, this vibration, the way people look. Everybody is Japanese there, and it sounds like a stupid thing to say, but I never had that experience before. Whenever I saw somebody that was not Japanese, I was like, "Oh, wow. You're not Japanese. That's unbelievable." It's like you have something in common, sort of like Charlotte does with Bob, I guess.

Charlotte is also interested in experiencing the culture. Do you see that being a brave thing?
Charlotte's been there before; that's why she has friends there. She doesn't feel lost in Tokyo, she knows where she's going. But because she feels so vulnerable and confused and overwhelmed in her life, being placed in such a bizarre foreign place just adds to the craziness. It's like when you're feeling out of sorts and you're in Times Square and there's all this stuff going on. I know Times Square like the back of my hand, but I just can't be there when I feel that way.

Working opposite Bill Murray, what did you know about him before you started working with him, and then afterward, what did you learn from him?
I've always been a huge Bill Murray fan. Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies ever. It's perfect really. I'm rarely star-struck because I've been doing this for so long, and you see how dorky people really are and everything, but Bill was different because he looks like Bill and you associate him with all these lovable characters he's played. You feel like you know him and these characters - Bob in What About Bob? and Phil in Groundhog Day - because you've seen those movies so many times. Then working with him, he's a really serious actor. He is. Most comedians are. He's very serious about his acting and his timing and his instincts. But I always learn something working with every actor; you learn things about yourself as an actor.

What kind of director is Sofia? Is she just as subtle as the performances she brings out?
She's very subtle, obviously. You can't imagine Sofia walking into the hotel room and going [shouts], "We want you to move over here!" It would just be out of character. I don't even think her voice raises to that level. Another thing I noticed is that she's totally sensitive to different sorts of things that actors need. Giovanni [Ribisi] is a Method actor, all the way. He needs tons of rehearsal. Bill is very instinctual, he doesn't need rehearsal, he walks in with an idea of what he wants to do. I don't know what kind of actor I am, but we're all different, we all need different things. And for someone who's just getting started, she was very responsible that way. Which is really unusual.

[SPOILER ALERT] I was grateful that the relationship between Bob and Charlotte didn't turn into a romantic relationship, that it didn't cross that line. What was your feeling about that, because my sense is that if a man had been directing this film, that's where it would have gone.
For me, for these two characters to consummate their love or whatever they have, you'd get this feeling like they'd wake up and go, "Why did we do that? Everything's different. Why did we ruin what we had?" It just wasn't right. My character is in love with her husband. She's in this marriage. They're just starting off, and they're a team, but they're just not a team right now. He's busy and she's so not busy. So it just wasn't appropriate and it wasn't right, it didn't feel right and it was never a question. As far as if a man was directing it? I couldn't say. I guess it depends on which man it is. I really do think there are some sensitive male directors and some very insensitive female directors.