Coppola's On the Rocks star played a memorable role in the gestation of the 2003 Oscar vehicle.

Sofia Coppola's soon-to-be-released New York City caper On the Rocks is making headlines as the filmmaker's first big-screen reunion with her Lost in Translation star Bill Murray, but the writer-director says the upcoming film's leading lady, Rashida Jones, also had a hand in the genesis of the iconic 2003 Oscar vehicle.

In an exclusive preview interview for the new film, Coppola tells EW that, prior to working with Jones on both On the Rocks and her 2015 Murray-starring holiday special A Very Murray Christmas, the Parks and Recreation actress was one of the first performers to help breathe life into the role that Scarlett Johansson would eventually play in Lost in Translation.

Rashida Jones; Lost in Translation
Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Yoshio Sato/Focus Features

"When I was working on Lost in Translation, I was workshopping the script at an acting class, and she played the role that Scarlett Johansson ended up playing," Coppola reveals of first meeting Jones and asking her to read the part of Charlotte, who, in the film, forms an unlikely platonic bond with an aging actor (Murray) after crossing paths at a Tokyo hotel. "I remember first working with her then and always having a connection to her and really liking her!"

On The Rocks
Credit: JoJo Whilden/A24/Apple

Of working with Coppola on the early version of the script, Jones adds: "Sofia has a quiet power and elegance that I have been in awe of since the first time we met. I had a lot in common with the character at the time, struggling with my identity and loneliness in a relationship. It was such a formative acting experience for me to dig into a character that deeply. Sofia and I have had a lot of parallel emotional milestones and On the Rocks represents that, too."

After forming a friendship with Jones, Coppola says her inherently "lovable, smart, and strong" demeanor (plus the fact that she, as the daughter of music mastermind Quincy Jones, also understood growing up with a larger-than-life father) was a perfect fit for On the Rocks, in which she plays Laura, a Manhattan woman who, amid dealing with an identity criss in her professional life as a writer and personal life as a mother and wife, suspects her husband (Marlon Wayans) is having an affair and enlists the help of her wealthy playboy father (Murray) to tail his every move.

"I never thought I could do something with Bill again, because people have such a fondness of him and Lost in Translation. I could never recreate something like that, so I never wanted to touch it," Coppola continues of feeling a pressure to top her previous work with Murray, which earned the actor his first (and only) Oscar nod, and eventually scored her an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. "But, all this time has passed, and I loved working with him and I love seeing him in film. We haven’t really seen him as this debonair, playboy father at this stage [of life], so I just had to get over it because now we’re in a different phase [of life]."

On the Rocks hits theaters and Apple TV+ in October via A24 and Apple Original Films. Read EW's full exclusive preview and see more stills from the project.

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