Lost in Translation is a 2003 romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Sofia Coppola. Bill Murray stars as Bob Harris, a fading American movie star who is having a midlife crisis when he travels to Tokyo to promote Suntory whisky. There, he befriends another estranged American named Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a young woman and recent college graduate. Giovanni Ribisi and Anna Faris also feature. The film explores themes of alienation and disconnection against a backdrop of cultural displacement in Japan. It defies mainstream narrative conventions and is atypical in its depiction of romance.
Coppola started writing the film after spending time in Tokyo and becoming fond of the city. She began forming a story about two characters experiencing a “romantic melancholy” in the Park Hyatt Tokyo, where she stayed while promoting her first feature film, the 1999 drama The Virgin Suicides. Coppola envisioned Murray playing the role of Bob Harris from the beginning and tried to recruit him for up to a year, relentlessly sending him telephone messages and letters. While Murray eventually agreed to play the part, he did not sign a contract; Coppola spent a quarter of the film’s $4 million budget without knowing if he would actually appear for shooting. When Murray finally arrived, Coppola described feelings of significant relief.