HBO Do you speak Japanese or did you have to learn that part for the role?
Olivia Munn I grew up in Japan so I speak conversational Japanese, but a lot of that vocabulary was new for me. Words like, “radiation,” “nuclear reactors” and “tsunami” don’t come up very often in conversational Japanese. On top of that, it’s not just Japanese, it’s Sorkin in Japanese. The other Japanese actors in the scene told me that so many American television shows use a dumbed-down, child’s version of Japanese. Our writer and producer Alan Poul actually has a master’s degree in Japanese, so we made sure that it was the level of Japanese that a journalist like Sloan would be speaking.
HBO So was that scene written specifically for you?
Olivia Munn It was. I was speaking with the writers once and it came out that I spoke Japanese. One day Aaron said to me, “I hear you speak Japanese, I may have you say a line in a future episode.” Then he said, “It might be a little more, like ten lines.” Then I got the script, and it’s a lot more than that. But like every episode with this show, no matter how big or small my role, I just try to bury myself in the homework of the script.
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