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Interview with Bill Murray

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Bill Murray stars in

Bill Murray stars in "Lost in Translation."

Focus Features
Do you believe there is romance involved in friendship?
I think romance basically starts with respect. And new romance always starts with respect. I think I have some romantic friendships. Like the song “Love the One You’re With;” there is something to that. It’s not just make love to whomever you’re with, it’s just love whomever you’re with. And love can be seeing that here we are and there’s this world here. If I go to my room and I watch TV, I didn’t really live. If I stay in my hotel room and watch TV, I didn’t live today.

How did you relate to the film’s portrayal of celebrity?
It’s not just being awake in the middle of the night and being anonymous. It’s being awake in the middle of the night with yourself. Without your support, without your buffers, as we call them. Your comfort things, you’re laying down. He didn’t even have his TV stations. He was trapped. He didn’t have his stuff, he didn’t have his bedroom, he didn’t have his booze, he didn’t have his stuff, [and] he didn’t have his world. It’s just a shock of consciousness where all of a sudden you’re stuck with yourself. You’re stuck with yourself. That’s sort of what Scarlett had, too. “I’m stuck with myself. I don’t have my husband. He’s off shooting this thing. I have my friends, I’m calling somebody on the phone here and they don’t get it. I’m stuck with myself. And there’s nobody here that knows me. There’s nobody here that cares about me. So who am I when I don’t have all my posse, my stuff with me?” That’s what it is. When you go to a foreign country, truly foreign, there is a major shock of consciousness that comes on you when you see that, “Oh God, it’s just me here.” There’s nobody, no neighbors, no friends, no phone calls - just room service.

Did you improvise with the Japanese comedians?
They found some real oddballs over there. There are really strange people over there and they managed to get ‘em. There are certain rhythms that are the same, no matter whether you know what the words are or not. The inflections and the intention and tone are the same really. Even if you don’t know the words a person is using, it’s objective rhythms so if you know your rhythms, you can jump in and out. I got some great guys over there. That one guy in the hospital, wow. I should have his home phone number. It was really something else.

Did you have any “Lost in Translation” moments in Japan?
I’d been to Fukuoka. I spent 10 days in Fukuoka with a friend of mine going to a golf tournament down there. We just had fun down there. They make fun of [people from Tokyo] down in Fukuoka. It’s like being in the South. They make fun of Tokyo people like Americans make fun of New Yorkers. They’re all so uptight. It was always fun down there. I liked being in a place where no one could understand me, the words. It was also nice to be in a place where people don’t recognize you, so you have total freedom to behave and [act out] foul impulses that you can’t [control]. I don't know if that’s ‘lost in translation’ or not.

Your character whispers something to Scarlett’s character in a crucial scene. Can we know what you said?
You never will.

Interview with "Lost in Translation's" Scarlett Johansson

Interview with Writer/Director Sofia Coppola

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