Coppola | Nepotism Schmepotism!
emily blunt interview
Review congratulates Sofia on her multiple Nominations! Including
Oscar nod - She's the 1st female feature director in that position
by the way people...
I entered the swanky hotel's hospitality suite, filled with euphoria
inducing cakes and nummy bits prepared to titillate the press-ian
tribes, I over heard some journalists talking about Sofia Coppola's
infamous Godfather role - and how bad it was. I thought,
" Wasn't that like twenty years ago? Hasn't she grown
into a director of substance? Are you ever gonna let it
go?" Grabbed my double chocolate brownie and diet coke and
slipped out into the hall before I started something...
217. There she was. I tiny little thing - yet every ounce of being
filled with talent - in my opinion. It's hard for a gal to be
a director in "Boy's Town." Not to mention having a
father that's a bonifide legend [as in Francis Ford]. On the crust
of it you'd be right to think, "She has it made
But here nepotism is frowned upon and you have to really prove
yourself to withstand the sea of naysayers. Well, she has. Her
new film Lost
in Translation is brilliant. It's a soft delicate story
of people and the truth behind emotions and unexpected, unconventional,
realationships. It's an anti-Hollywood formula film that Sofia
wrote and directed and technically only her second soiree on film
as lord and master, the mega-popular Virgin Suicides being
chitter let's get to the chat:
There are so many elements in Lost in Translation that
seem, well frankly, autobiographical...true?
It came from all my trips to Japan and to that actual hotel- the
different experiences. I went there for Virgin Suicides and stuff
- so it definately came from just kind of my observations of Tokyo
yeah, there's definitely parts I relate to in both the Bill Murray
character and Scarlett Johansson's character
Was it easier to slip into one character or the other for you?
Really, I liked writing both
I just imagined what Bill Murray
would say- in that situation. The role was written with him in
mind - always. Charlotte [Scarlett's character] is more
me. Then it's kind of people I knew - combined.
Emily: Your movies have -- moods.
Yeah I guess I like movies that are atmospheric, less plot
driven. For me, I like making movies that sustain a mood-a feeling.
It's more about that. A feeling.
Bill Murray is phenomenal in this - but he really isn't the actor
one says, 'High drama? Straight emotion? We gotta get Bill Murray!"
How'd you decide on him?
[laughter] Really, he was just who I imagined as I was writing
this. I was a fan of his and wanted to work with him. He has such
a great combination of being hysterically funny and this heartbreaking
face and expressions-I wanted the character to have that emotional
range. I wanted to see him in a kimono! [Laughter]
You do an amazing job with the direction here. Confess do you
bully the help? [Laughter] I mean they usually come with their
own "style" of performance. How do you extract them?
[laughter] I like the sort of really restrained feeling where
it's not all-extroverted action. I like setting the tone and as
we are working a scene you guide them towards one direction or
another. I like that more withdrawn direction - where everything
is sort of under the surface.
How much did Bill improv?
He did improvise a lot. I mean sure there were scripted scenes
- but he did improvise. There are certain scenes like the photo
shoot or Suntory? We would just throw things at him and he would
just react and crack us up to the point we'd have to reshoot because
I was hysterical! And the scene in the sushi restaurant
Murray interrupts us
You having fun in here?
[turning bold red and instantly quiet - like a star-struck fan]
Hi Bill, this is Emily Blunt
[ H nods in my general direction ala Todd!] Where's the sandwiches?
Nope, it's her thing
I'm out here when you're done.
Emily: Okay he's gone [knowing he was in the room's hall towards
the door] so he's really that much of an A**hole to work
I heard that you! I'm watching you!
[just dying] oh
a big big comedy god in my eyes
"Star wars, it's
nothing but Star Wars
remember folks to tip your waitress'"
and so forth are indelibly stamped from childhood upon my developing
I am crushed he'd rather inhale a roast beef sandwich
from the catering tray then sit and join
but I'll survive.]
The film has many misunderstandings between cultures scenes. My
Japanese friend was in tears during the waiting room scene and
the Suntory photo shoot scene- of course she knew exactly what
the translator was saying to Bill's character Bob and said it
was brilliant. The Suntory commercial's Japanese director tells
Murray detailed anal retentive direction and the translator simply
says, " he wants you to turn left" or " he says
turn more right"
Yeah? Great. My producer and I were very curious how the Japanese
audience would see it. We showed it to the distributors there
and they said in some cases they laughed even more then American
audiences because there's that stuff. I wanted to make sure it
wasn't offensive. How in Japan they switch the R's and L's - we
make fun of Americans as well.
Yeah - you do! You said the film is very personal. It what way?
Well, that whole feeling of being in a foreign place. The comradery
the two have. I am probably more similar to Charlotte [Scarlett's
character] in my life experience but discovery this new place.
Friends I've had that are in a totally different place in life
- but you're kind of going through a similar thing and being both
Americans in this really foreign place. In my early twenties I
felt very much like this-what do I want to do-looking at all these
things that you know it's nice to talk to someone who's been through
it. They kind of become friends in this situation and in "real
life" they probably never would have had a friendship
they are kind of stuck in this hotel.
Now, the Scarlett character Charlotte is kind of on the fringe
of celebrity. She's watching her photographer husband be groped
by the "celebrity" and kind of invisable. Hmm...this
has to be autobiographical?
Sofia: Oh, yes. With Spike [Jonz her husband] and my father [Francis
Ford Coppola]- there's a lot of activity around them and you're
kind of tagging along. It's a specific kind of thing. In one way
I like being able to observe it. But I remember being eight at
the Cannes film festival with my dad and all the crazy paparazzi
were around - they were oblivious to the fact I was even there.
They had no boundaries - they forget your a person and they grab
you trying to get to him. It definitely made an impression on
You resist the A- typical older actor with the younger girl fornication
scenes. Bravo! And thank you!
Sofia: [laughter] yeah, I just wanted to make it more like real
life-life's not like that. I like these moments that make an impression
on you and they don't have to turn into "something else."
They still stay with you and have an impact on who you are.
Emily: I think there are a lot of male directors that
Would have had them get it on [laughter]
Exactly! I thought it was very interesting - do you think it's
a sensitively you bring to the field? A big studio or male director
Yeah, I mean I never thought-ya probably. I know what you mean.
It would have been a whole other movie-I wanted it to be about
a real relationship, I didn't want it to turn into "that."
Emily: Okay-everyone who's seen the film wants to know
Murray whisper in Scarlett's ear at the end?
Well, Bill said, "That's between lovers."
So I'll stick with that.
a soft yet strong woman Sofia is. Obviously she's got "the
eye" for the medium. I am a big fan and can't wait to see
the work she continues to create. I think someone said there's
thirteen Coppolas presently working in film
that's got to
be some kind of dynasty no? Well, if it is - Sofia's the reigning
queen of the family tree. Damn - I forgot to ask for her ah-dorable
cousin Nic's number----drat!
Lost in Translation immediately
- it's a great great film on so many levels.