Scarlett Johansson

“It really wasn’t based on her”: Scarlett Johansson’s Lost in Translation Director Refuses Allegations of Taking a Jab at ‘The Mask’ Actor in $118M Film

Scarlett Johansson starred in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 melancholy romantic drama Lost in Translation. The movie was particularly significant as it appeared to be an autobiographical take on the strained marriage the director of the endeavor shared with former husband Spike Jonze. As the film commemorates its 20th anniversary, Coppola sat down with Rolling Stone and answered the common queries attached to the Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson-led premise.

Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation (2003)
Lost in Translation (2003)

One of the questions asked was whether or not the director had seen the Joaquin Phoenix (and coincidentally, Scarlett Johansson) starrer Her (2013), directed by Spike Jonze and believed to be a semi-autobiographical account of his divorce from Coppola that occurred a decade earlier. The Marie Antoinette alum also addressed the rumor of Anna Faris’ Lost in Translation character, Kelly, being based on The Mask actress Cameron Diaz.

Sofia Coppola Is Not Sure If She Wants To See Her (2013)

Spike Jonze's Her (2013)
Spike Jonze’s Her (2013)

Her (2013) chronicles the story of Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Theodore Twombly, who finds himself heartbroken and lonely. As a divorce from his childhood sweetheart Catherine, portrayed by Rooney Mara, looms around the corner, Theodore becomes fascinated and later enamored by an AI system voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Talking of the film, Sofia Coppola remarked to Rolling Stone, “I don’t know if I want to see Rooney Mara as me,” 

Shedding light on the parallelism between Jonze’s film and her own (re: Lost in Translation), Coppola affirmed that she never saw Her, but she could notice certain similarities after watching the trailer. She deems it a result of having the same production designer as her ex-husband. Following was her statement on the matter:

“I never saw it! From the trailer, it looks the same too. We have the same production designer. But I haven’t seen it. I know people really like that movie, but I haven’t seen it.”

Sofia Coppola doesn't intend to watch former husband's film
Sofia Coppola doesn’t intend to watch former husband’s film

After viewing Lost in Translation, many assumed the character of Charlotte’s husband, played by Giovanni Ribisi, is meant to be a cinematic stand-in for Spike Jonze. Coppola denied such assumptions, but admitted the following in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: 

“It’s not Spike. But there are elements of him there, elements of experiences. There are elements of me in all the characters.”

Years later, the director is now addressing the rumors of Anna Faris’ character, Kelly, a ditzy, bubble-headed Hollywood actress, being modeled after or inspired by Bad Teacher star Cameron Diaz.

Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation Character Is Not Based On Cameron Diaz

Sofia Coppola denies Anna Faris' character is based on Cameron Diaz.
Sofia Coppola denies Anna Faris’ character is based on Cameron Diaz.

People at the time believed that Faris’ character in Lost in Translation was meant to come off as a dig at renowned Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz. Sofia Coppola has denied such allegations. In the same Rolling Stone article, the following is what the director of the $118.7 million film had to say:

“It really wasn’t based on her. It was a combination of a bunch of people. It was a type, so it wasn’t a diss on her. Someone else was more the personality of [Anna Faris’ character].”

Diaz worked with Spike Jonze in Being John Malkovich (1999), the same year the latter married Coppola. That is most likely where the rumors about Kelly’s persona being based on the The Mask alum originated. However, as things stand, that is not the case.

Sofia Coppola’s upcoming film, Priscilla, starring Cailee Spaeny in the title role alongside Euphoria actor Jacob Elordi, is scheduled to hit the theatres on November 3, 2023. 

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