And Scarlett Johansson asked me: “Are you next to me for dinner tonight?” | Beppe Severgnini’s story


And Scarlett Johansson asked me: “Are you next to me for dinner tonight?”  |  Beppe Severgnini’s story
Written by aquitodovale

from Beppe Severgnini

“She told me what Bill Murray whispers in her ear on Lost in Translation. But telling me not to tell it around “

I take the DVD package in my hand: and this already says who I am, an elderly person. Nobody under the age of fifty handles a DVD package unless they have to squash a mosquito. The cover image is singularly ugly. There’s a middle-aged guy sitting on the unmade bed in a hotel room. He has little hair. He is wearing a diarrhea-colored dressing gown. On the feet, the terry slippers they offer in hotels: always too short. In Asia, where they produce them, they have not yet understood that Europeans and Americans have, on average, the longest feet. In fact, the guy has his heels out, but he doesn’t seem to care. He has a slightly stupid smile, the one that comes when he is very sleepy or in love. Behind him two lamps and, in the distance, the colored lights of a metropolis. The cover doesn’t say what it is, but I know: Tokyo. On the back, another image. Better, it must be said.Next to the guy on the cover, who has dressed in the meantime, is a blonde girl. Twenty years, by eye. The two are seated side by side, leaning against a zebra patterned wallpaper. The girl has a pink hair helmet. She is wearing a black sleeveless dress. She keeps her hands on the hem of her skirt. He looks at the lens with narrowed eyes. She smiles.

Ok, you get it. The film is by Sofia Coppola and is entitled Lost in Translation. In Italian it has become Love translated
(if there was an Oscar for the Worst Translation of a Title, it would already be awarded). The 50-year-old with the dressing gown is Bill
Murray. The girl with the pink hair, Scarlett
Johansson. Maybe it’s the film I love the most, one of the few that I see regularly. A masterpiece of sweetness and jet-lag. Since it came out in 2003, I wonder why it strikes me so much. Since I couldn’t find an answer, a decade ago I thought I’d ask Scarlett directly. We met in northern France. In the weekly «7» of Courier the possibility of a cover interview had been offered. When they told me about it, I was at the airport before they finished the sentence. It was a real interview: two people in a room, unhurried. Not one of the rotating micro-interviews that precede the release of a film, those that are called in jargon junkets. Actors and directors sit in the same place – same chair, same smile, same poster in the background – and respond mechanically. Since they work in the cinema, of course, they know how to act. The best, in those few minutes, even manage to convince us that they care about us.

Well, it wasn’t like that with Scarlett. I arrived in Paris, found the car that would take me through the vineyards of Epernay, where Ms Johansson had her headquarters. Some junkets it was expected, of course. Her colleagues entered the actress’s room and left shortly after, almost never enthusiastic. There was also an Italian I knew. He saw me and said, “Good luck. Nice as a butt in her hair, the girl “. “Cicca”, in Lombardy, means gum, chewing-gum. So you understood: not very nice, the young Johansson, according to the colleague. When my turn came, in the middle of the afternoon, I wasn’t thrilled – a reporter will never admit it. Let’s say, happy. I knew we would have time. I was prepared, I knew his films. Not only Lost in Translation. Scarlett seemed like a versatile and convincing actress. She and she a charming young woman, sure. A fascination that I could not fully explain to myself. I had prepared myself by reading portraits and interviews: those of male colleagues were often embarrassing. The questions were like, “Is she divine, or just wonderful?” I promised myself to keep an attitude. Until I entered.

For starters: Scarlett was smaller than I imagined. One and sixty poor. She sat on the sofa, her shoes on the rug, her legs gathered under her floral skirt. I asked her, first of all: can we stand by the window? My iPhone is dead, and I need it to record the interview – I need a power outlet, and it’s just there. She looked at me and I understood, with the resignation of the accused and the lovers, that the fate of our meeting would be decided in the next ten seconds. Five were enough. She smiled, got up, moved away. “What would we do without the good old iPhones?” She joked. The conversation – sitting opposite, pressed against the wall – ran away. Scarlett Johansson was one who answered questions, I suspect she still is. We remembered The Horse Whispererhis real cinematic debutAnd Robert
Redford who said, speaking of her: “She’s thirteen, going thirty”, she is thirteen, she goes for thirty. And then the string of excellent films at the beginning of the 2000s: The girl with the Pearl Earring, A song for Bobby Long, Match Point And Scoop, Black Dahlia, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
(I liked Scarlett less in the sheathed version Iron Manbut I didn’t tell him).

I asked her to Lost in Translation
, my delightful obsession. “Take away a curiosity. Was Murray’s character in love with her? ‘ Answer: “It would have been, if he had been a little younger, or if she had been a little older. It was a platonic love. I think she showed him something, and he guided her, somehow. He lights up when he’s with her. And she too, when she’s with him. Thanks to this meeting you are able to move towards a new phase of your life ». Scarlett realized that I knew her job well, but realized that I knew little or nothing about her private life. “Really? Don’t you even know who I’m married to? ‘ No, I confess. «You’re my dream interviewer! She is my dream interviewer! Come on, let’s talk about politics ». Rereading the interview years later, I realize how the young American Scarlett J. was lucid and, unfortunately, premonitory. I asked her if she was disappointed with Obama, then in her first term. “Not disappointed. Still full of hope. Disappointed, however, by the divisions of American politics, by the polarization of our society. The bias of the media is repulsive, really. Really hard to swallow. I was hoping this would change. But it hasn’t changed. ” Don’t you think it’s also a market question? The media have understood that the public wants to read, listen and see who is right. People – in America, in Europe, in Italy – don’t want doubts with breakfast. Ms Johansson seems to agree: “The public loves the status quo. He wants to be told that everything is more or less ok. People work a lot in America. He kills himself with work. I don’t think he has the time and desire to think about politics, the environment, the big picture. He has no time and no desire to check the news. It needs simple and accessible things, the mind is fatigued by the harshness of everyday life“.

Towards the end of the interview, surprisingly, Scarlett asked me why, in my opinion, men liked her so much. “There are more beautiful actresses than me,” she added very seriously. Maybe that’s true, I replied; but many are intimidating. Scarlett is an American girl. She is the prettiest cashier in the Walmart supermarket, in front of which she forms the longest queue. I thought for a moment that she was throwing me out. She didn’t, she smiled. “It’s dinner tonight, see you there.” At dinner, in the cellar of the company, she asked me to sit next to her. I mentally thanked the Corriere della Sera. It was hard work, but someone had to do it. Saying goodbye, I asked her: what Bill Murray whispered to her at the end of Lost in Translation? She came over and told me. «But don’t tell it around!», She concluded with a laugh. Scarlett, don’t worry: I’ll be a mummy. The age now is that.

This story has a post Scriptum
. A few months after the interview was published, in spring 2011, I received a call from Scarlett Johansson’s agency. “There is a big event in Shanghai. Scarlett has the opportunity to invite two journalists, an American and a European. And she made her his name. He has a good memory of your meeting ». I swallow, I answer. “I have good memories too: together with the one with Bruce Springsteen, the best interview of my career. But you must know that, in a few months, I am celebrating my silver wedding. And where did we book the anniversary trip? In Shanghai. If I cancel it, to go to the same city with Scarlett Johansson, even my very solid marriage could falter. ” The agent laughs, I laugh too. Cos

a is not for you, Ortensia.

July 25, 2022 (change July 25, 2022 | 08:24)

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