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Lost in Translation (2003) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (2)  | Director Trademark (2)  | Spoilers (4)
Bill Murray's favorite film of his own.
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.
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Sofia Coppola wasn't sure if Bill Murray was actually going to show up for the film. Murray works without a management, and according to Coppola, he had only given her a verbal confirmation. While production was being set up in Tokyo with no sign of him, she started to get nervous, but was assured by Wes Anderson (who had directed Murray in Rushmore (1998) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)) that Murray was a man of his word. It was indeed when Murray landed in Tokyo one week before filming that his participation was ensured.
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Bob and Charlotte never introduce themselves to each other.
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The opening shot of Scarlett Johansson is actually influenced by a painting by John Kacere, whose painting shows up later in the hotel. Johansson was reportedly nervous about appearing in her underpants, so to ease her down, Sofia Coppola did the first take herself while wearing the same underpants.
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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".
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The entire budget for the film was $4 million. It grossed $44.5 million in North America, and $119.7 million world wide.
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The script, which can be found online, wasn't written in the traditional sense, but more in terms of broad scene description that allowed for input by the actors. Many dialogue scenes were heavily improvised, including Bill Murray's lines in the photo shoot and his conversation with Scarlett Johansson about his Shiatsu massage.
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With this film, Sofia Coppola became the first woman to be Oscar nominated for writing, directing and producing in the same year. She won for Best Original Screenplay.
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Sofia Coppola wrote a lot of the film based on her life. The character of John was loosely based on her then-husband Spike Jonze. Rumor has it that the character of Kelly was based on Cameron Diaz, who worked with Jonze on Being John Malkovich (1999). Coppola denied the connection in an Entertainment Weekly interview.
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In 1999, Bill Murray replaced his talent agency with an automated voice mailbox that can be reached with an 800 number that he gives out sparingly; he only calls back when he is interested in the proposed project. Sofia Coppola obtained the number through her friend and frequent Murray-collaborator Wes Anderson, and she reportedly left hundreds of messages on Murray's mailbox before he finally called back to discuss her offer to cast him as the star.
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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.
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Filming had to be done in secrecy at certain locations because the production was unable to secure permission to shoot there. For example, the crew faced threat of arrest while filming in the subway of Tokyo and at Shibuya Crossing.
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Filmed in 27 days.
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When Charlotte is riding the subway, she looks down at a man who is reading a comic called 'Ghost in the Shell'. Scarlett Johansson would go on to star in a film adaptation of the comic in 2017, Ghost in the Shell (2017).
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Catherine Lambert, the redheaded lounge singer, wasn't a professional actress. Sofia Coppola saw Catherine performing in Tokyo in 2001. A year later, Sofia's producer Ross Katz from Elemental Films (based in New York) tracked down Catherine in South Australia and invited her to return to Tokyo to play the "Red Haired Jazz Singer."
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Sofia Coppola based the characters of Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) and her husband John (Giovanni Ribisi) on herself and her then-husband Spike Jonze. She won the 2003 Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the movie. Ten years later, Johansson worked with Jonze on Her (2013), which earned Jonze the 2013 Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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As of 2020, features Bill Murray's only Oscar nominated performance.
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John uses the phrase 'moshi moshi' incorrectly. It is used as a greeting in Japan, but only when using a telephone. It is almost never used face to face unless trying to get someone's attention.
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The film's Spanish title in Latin 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".
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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 (2007) 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.
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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.
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Bob and Charlotte don't exchange dialogue until 32 minutes into the film.
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Bill Murray's "Best Picture" nominees introduction of the movie on the 2004 Academy Awards began with the following anecdote: "2 days into filming, four members of the Tokyo crew wanted to quit because they felt the director didn't know what she doing. We were politely denied" (meaning he was one of them).
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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.
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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.
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"Too Young" by Phoenix is on the movie soundtrack. The band's singer, Thomas Mars, has two children with director Sofia Coppola.
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The hotel where Charlotte and Bob are staying is the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
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At the New York Bar/Grill in the Park Hyatt hotel, one "Lost in Translation" theme drink called L.I.T. is available. Ingredients as per menu: sake (Kikuizumi Daiginjo), Peachtree, cherry blossom liqueur (Sakura Liqueur), and "cranberry drink".
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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.
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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!"
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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.
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The views of Shibuya were filmed from the 2nd floor window of Starbucks.
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Most or all of the game audio heard in the arcade is not the original audio from the games shown.
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The only Best Picture Oscar nominee of the year to be also nominated for Original Screenplay.
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The temple in Kyoto that Charlotte went to was Nanzen-ji. It was odd for her to see a wedding there, however, as Japanese weddings take place in shrines, not temples. The second place she went to was Heian Jingu Shrine.
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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.
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The ring tone on Bob's cell phone is Frédéric Chopin's "Fantaisie Impromptu" in C sharp minor, Opus 66.
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Bob is asked to channel Roger Moore for his photo shoot. Later in the film, there is a karaoke performance of "Nobody Does It Better", the theme to one of Moore's own Bond movies, The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
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The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
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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.
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The name of Kelly Strong is revealed in Japanese text before being spoken or shown in English. When she does the press conference for Midnight Velocity, her name is written in katakana as "Kerii Sutorongu".
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One thing that Bill Murray really enjoyed about making the film in Tokyo was the fact that he was very rarely recognized.
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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.
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John mentions that he had to go down to talk to Kelly in the bar. New York Bar is actually on the 52nd floor. Higher than all the guest rooms in the Park Hyatt Tokyo.
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Scarlett Johansson was 17 during production.
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The song in the arcade where the young boy is playing guitar is by the Japanese punk band "The Blue Hearts".
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The pink flower mobiles Charlotte hangs in the hotel room are cherry blossoms, which hold a very prominent place in Japanese culture.
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During the photo-shoot sequence, the cameraman mentions the Rat Pack. Of all the members Bob mentions, he leaves out Sammy Davis Jr. who actually did do ads for Suntory.
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The conversation between the two German men in the Sauna (near the end of the film) goes something like this:
  • "Cardboard! I can hardly eat all this stuff 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!"
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The golf course where Bob played in Japan was Kawaguchiko CC.
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Sofia Coppola's decision to base the character of Charlotte's husband on Spike Jonze caused some friction between her and Michel Gondry, a mutual friend of Coppola and Jonze. In a New York Times interview (dated September 17, 2006), Gondry said that he had confronted Coppola about this issue following the film's New York premiere. "There was a character in 'Lost in Translation' that was clearly based on Spike... And it was not nice. I don't believe in being mean-spirited or mocking, and I told her that."
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Giovanni Ribisi and Scarlett Johansson both have fraternal twin siblings, Giovanni a sister, and Scarlett a brother.
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The film's Italian title 'L'Amore Tradotto' is defined in English as 'Love Translated'.
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George Price considers this one of the top 20 films in honor of the Oscars.
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The font of the film's end credits is Futura.
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An extra in the party scene wears a Pizza of Death t-shirt. This is the name of an independent record label.
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The hotel lounge act is named after Sausalito, California, a small artsy/touristy town across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.
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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.
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Bill Murray's character is singing "More than This" by Roxy Music, at the karaoke party.
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Dismissed in a Mitchell and Webb sketch about Film Critics as a film where "nothing happens at all".
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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.
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Footage from season 2 of Saturday Night Live (1975) (SNL) is seen very briefly when Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is watching TV in his hotel room. Ostensibly, Murray would be watching himself as he was one of 'The Not Ready For Prime Time Players' on SNL from 1977 to 1978.
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Giovanni Ribisi and Anna Faris both guest starred in recurring roles on Friends (1994). Ribisi played Phoebe's brother, Faris the girl Erica, who gave birth to twins, later adopted by Chandler and Monica.
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Cameo 

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

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

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

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.
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In the hospital waiting area where the old man tries to ask Bob how long he's been in Japan, the scene was allegedly improvised enough to where the two women sitting behind the men are attempting to stifle their laughter at the awkward exchange.
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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?" Closer inspection seems to reveal that the opening words are "Promise me ..." and that the closest match to the audio is most likely, "Promise me, that the next thing you do, is go up to that man and tell him the truth."
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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.
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See also

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

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