Scarlett Johansson’s adrift philosophy grad Charlotte in “Lost in Translation” is largely believed to be based on writer/director Sofia Coppola’s own state of mind during her marriage to Spike Jonze. But, it turns out, Coppola also found inspiration for the character from actress Rashida Jones. As revealed to Entertainment Weekly, Jones was part of an early workshop read of the screenplay for “Lost in Translation,” which went on to win Coppola the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. The exchange also cemented a creative relationship now realized in Coppola’s upcoming dramedy “On the Rocks,” starring Jones opposite “Lost in Translation” lead Bill Murray, and opening (though no formal date has been set) this October from A24 and Apple TV+.
“When I was working on ‘Lost in Translation,’ I was workshopping the script at an acting class, and she played the role that Scarlett Johansson ended up playing,” Coppola said, who also worked with Jones on her 2015 Netflix film “A Very Murray Christmas.” “I remember first working with her then and always having a connection to her and really liking her!”
The experience was enlightening for Jones, then in her mid-20s. “Sofia has a quiet power and elegance that I have been in awe of since the first time we met. I had a lot in common with the character at the time, struggling with my identity and loneliness in a relationship,” Jones said. “It was such a formative acting experience for me to dig into a character that deeply. Sofia and I have had a lot of parallel emotional milestones and ‘On the Rocks’ represents that, too.”
Coppola said in forming a friendship with Jones, the “lovable, smart, and strong” actor was helped her shape the “On the Rocks” character, a Manhattan writer and mom who suspects her husband (Marlon Wayans) is cheating on her, and enlists her bachelor father (Murray) to do some detective work.
“I never thought I could do something with Bill again, because people have such a fondness of him and ‘Lost in Translation.’ I could never recreate something like that, so I never wanted to touch it,” Coppola told EW. “But, all this time has passed, and I loved working with him and I love seeing him in film. We haven’t really seen him as this debonair, playboy father at this stage [of life], so I just had to get over it because now we’re in a different phase [of life].”