For two whole decades, one question has lingered in the minds of moviegoers: what exactly did Bill Murray say to Scarlett Johansson at the end of the beloved 2003 film, Lost in Translation? The mystery surrounding the whispered words of Murray’s character, Bob Harris, to Johansson’s disillusioned young bride, Charlotte, has perplexed viewers since the film’s release in September of that year. Despite numerous attempts over the years to decipher the elusive message, the answer remains a closely guarded secret.
Coppola and her cast have never revealed the exact words of Murray’s whispered line, leaving curious fans to rely on internet sleuths for answers. Murray famously improvised the line, and a group of cinema enthusiasts on YouTube took it upon themselves to solve the mystery. Through digital processing, they discovered that Murray’s words were most likely, “I have to be leaving, but I won’t let that come between us. OK?”
Is the case really closed? That’s what some are questioning, including Johansson herself. During a press tour for Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” earlier this year (before the SAG-AFTRA strike), Yahoo Entertainment asked the actress about Murray’s alleged quote from 20 years ago. Johansson laughed and said, “Oh my god, that sounds pretty profound. Probably way more profound than what was actually said!”
Johansson chose not to reveal the exact words that were spoken. After hearing the internet’s response for a second time, she became even more uncertain if the riddle had been solved. She gave it a grade of around B-minus. It appears that ChatGPT may need to step in to solve this mystery!
Johansson is confident that Lost in Translation remains relevant and impactful even after two decades. The actress highlights the movie’s timeless quality, which centers on the relationship between two individuals. The film garnered widespread acclaim and earned four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, with Coppola winning the Best Original Screenplay award. Coppola’s father, the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, was also present, joined by her cousin Nicolas Cage who cheered her on fervently.
Since 2003, societal attitudes have shifted significantly, and portraying the relationship between an older man, especially a celebrity, and a younger woman has become more complex in the wake of #MeToo. In the movie Lost in Translation, Bob and Charlotte’s relationship never develops into a romantic one, but their deep connection is evident throughout the film. This unspoken bond is what makes the movie’s closing whisper so memorable. According to Scarlett Johansson, who played Charlotte, their encounter defies #MeToo concerns due to its unique circumstances. She believes that their impact on each other is profound, and viewers can sense this without judgment. The foreign surroundings in which they met and their familiarity with each other are the reasons for their connection. Had they met under different circumstances, they might not have connected so intimately.