Lost in Translation (2003) Poster



Fumihiro Hayashi:  as Charlie Brown, the singer of God Save the Queen in the Karaoke scene. Hayashi is Sofia Coppola's long-time friend and guide in Japan.
Jump to: Cameo (1) | Director Trademark (2) | Spoilers (3)
Bill Murray's favourite film of his own.
Scarlett Johansson said that she was reluctant to be filmed in panties until Sofia Coppola modeled the panties herself to show her how they would look.
Sofia Coppola wasn't sure if Bill Murray was actually going to show up for the film, going by only, according to Coppola, a verbal confirmation. It was on the first day of filming, that Murray showed up.
Sofia Coppola wrote the lead role specifically for Bill Murray, and later said that if Murray turned it down, she wouldn't have done the movie.
The entire budget for the film was $4 million. It grossed $44.5 million in North America alone and $119.7 million world wide.
Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola's father, urged her to shoot the movie in High Definition Video because "it's the future", but she chose film because "film feels more romantic".
Some dialogue was improvised, including Bill Murray's lines in the photo shoot and his conversation with Scarlett Johansson about his Shiatsu massage.
Bob and Charlotte never introduce themselves to each other.
In 1999, Bill Murray replaced his talent agency with an automated voice mailbox that can be reached with an 800 number he gives out sparingly. Sofia Coppola reportedly left hundreds of messages on Murray's mailbox before he finally called back to discuss her offer to cast him as the star.
The film's Spanish title in South America, "Perdidos en Tokio", Chinese title "Mi Shi Dong Jing", and its Hebrew title in Israel, "Avudim be-Tokio", all mean "Lost in Tokyo", meaning that the titles themselves were literally lost in translation. The reason is probably that "Lost in Translation" sounds like a discussion on translation in other languages. The title got lost in translation in other versions as well: the title in Portuguese translates as "Love is a Strange Place"; the title in Polish translates as "In Between Words".
The opening shot of Scarlett Johansson is actually influenced by a painting by John Kacere, whose painting shows up later in the hotel.
Filmed in 27 days.
The dish that Bill Murray's character complains about saying who goes to a restaurant where you have to cook your own food is called Shabu Shabu. It is very thinly sliced raw meat along with various vegetables that the consumer dips in boiling broth.
The inspiration for having Bob Harris do a Suntory whisky commercial was partially inspired by the fact that Sofia Coppola's father, Francis Ford Coppola, made a real Suntory commercial with Akira Kurosawa in the 1970s.
Bob was asked to channel Roger Moore when shooting the Suntory commercial, but he said he liked Sean Connery better. In the real world, Sean Connery actually did commercials for Suntory.
The plastic flowers/leaves that Charlotte is arranging to hang in her room are commonly used as decorations in shops in Tokyo. The fact that they are pink means it is springtime.
Sofia Coppola wrote a lot of the film based on her life. The character of John (Giovanni Ribisi) was loosely based on her then husband Spike Jonze. Rumor has it that the Anna Faris' character, Kelly, was supposedly Cameron Diaz, with whom Spike Jonze worked with on Being John Malkovich (1999), though Coppola denied the connection in an Entertainment Weekly interview.
Catherine Lambert, the redheaded lounge singer, wasn't a professional actress, but rather the real life lounge singer at the Hotel where the cast and crew were staying and they thought her performance of the 'Scarborough Fair' fit the theme of the film so well they asked her to be in the movie.
There is a shot of Bob running across a busy street while a minivan passes, full of uniformed women waving and politely shouting over a P.A. system. This is a form of advertising used by political candidates. The candidate himself is running alongside the van.
Sofia Coppola designed many of the shots for the film by taking a series of photographs throughout Tokyo and then recreating them with the cast and crew, using the photos as references.
The crew faced threat of arrest while filming in the subway of Tokyo and at Shibuya Crossing.
The conversation between the two men in the Sauna (near the end of the film) goes something like this: - "I can hardly eat papayas anymore!" - "At first I was really happy ... at first, I thought ... well I thought..." - "At the beginning, yes." - "In Germany, I was looking forward to it, but in the meantime..." - "Yeah. Now, something German..." - "Hmmmm." - "After this, we'll go out and get something German to eat here!"
The hotel where Charlotte and Bob are staying is the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
The painting in Charlotte's hotel room in Tokyo was done by John Kacere called "Jutta" (1973). Kacere is a famous photorealist who specialized in photographing women in lingerie.
At the New York Bar/Grill in the Park Hyatt hotel, one "Lost in Translation" theme drink called L.I.T. is available.
Most or all of the game audio heard in the arcade is not the original audio from the games shown.
The BB-gun the angry bartender used to drive out Bob, Charlotte and Charlotte's friends is an Airsoft MP5 with a Tokyo-Marui tracer adapter, firing plastic phosphor-luminescent BBs. The adapter's strobe light makes the BBs glow.
The whiskey that Bob represents is 17-year-old Suntory Hibiki. Hibiki, which means "resonance" in Japanese, has won numerous awards including World's Best Blended Whiskey.
"Too Young" by Phoenix is on the movie soundtrack. The band's singer, Thomas Mars, has two children with director Sofia Coppola.
When Charlotte goes to the arcade she sees the games Taiko no Tatsujin, (the game with the big drum) by Namco, GuitarFreaks by Konami, and Pop'n Music by Konami. The latter two are part of Konami's Bemani music game series which is very popular in Japan.
The white doily seat covers in the limo are widely used in Japan. Most taxis and limos have them installed to protect the leather seat surfaces from discoloration and wear.
The views of Shibuya were filmed from the 2nd floor window of Starbucks.
The ring tone on Bob's cell phone is Frédéric Chopin's "Fantaisie Impromptu" in C sharp minor, Opus 66.
Bob is asked to channel Roger Moore for his photo shoot. Later, we see a karaoke performance of "Nobody Does It Better", the theme to one of Moore's own Bond movies, The Spy Who Loved Me.
The song in the arcade where the young boy is playing guitar is by the Japanese punk band "The Blue Hearts".
Bill Murray had a Japanese phrase book called "Making Out In Japanese" in which he would go around to sushi restaurants and ask the chefs if "they had a curfew" or if the would mind if he "used protection." He even mentioned on the Graham Norton Show that he had learned a phrase along the lines of "Who do you think you're talking to?" and would mention it to the fear of others.
The car that Bob Harris is chauffeured around in is a Toyota Century, a luxury limousine which is produced in a limited quantities and is commonly used by members of royalty, government leaders, and executive businessmen. It is also the choice for Japanese embassies outside Japan.
The hotel lounge act is named after Sausalito, California, a small artsy / touristy town across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.
An extra in the party scene wears a Pizza of Death t-shirt. This is the name of an independent record label.
The close up camera lens on the crane/jib camera, in the TV game show is a Fujinon 5.5mm wide angle lens; it gives a fishbowl, almost distorted look, when physically very close to an object or person.
Second in the poll for FIPRESCI GRAND PRIX OF THE YEAR 2004.
The TV camera used in the scene where Bob appears on the Japanese show is an Ikegami HK-388W with a Fujinon Ah24x lens, mounted on a Vinten Vector 700 pan and tilt head - typical studio equipment.


Nancy Steiner:  The voice of Bob's wife is provided by the film's costume designer.

Director Trademark 

Sofia Coppola:  [sun through leaves]  Filming the sun coming through leaves of trees.
Sofia Coppola:  [car window]  Filming from the outside of a car window looking in as the car moves.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

For years, no one other than Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Coppola knew what Bob whispered to Charlotte in the final scene, but on October 28, 2009, a YouTube video surfaced containing a slightly enhanced audio of this part of the film with subtitles where more than 20 thousand visitors had a chance to find out that Bob whispered to Charlotte: "When John is ready for his next business trip, go up to that man and tell him the truth, okay?" Another YouTube video, uploaded April 15, 2007, suggests that the line is: "I have to be leaving, but I won't let that come between us, OK?"
The kiss between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson at the end of the movie was not in the script, but was an "in the moment" ad-lib between the performers.
In the hospital, the question that the elderly man with the cane tries to ask Bob (in Japanese) is: "How many years have you been in Japan?" Meanwhile, the diagnosis that Charlotte receives from the doctor (in Japanese) is that her toe is fractured, but taping is enough.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page