Is Scarlett Johansson’s A.I. Character in Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ Based on Karen O?

The intriguing fan theory is gaining traction among Reddit’s community of film fans

Karen O
CLEVELAND, OH – APRIL 18: Karen O performs a Lou Reed song onstage during the 30th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 18, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Is Scarlett Johansson‘s A.I. character in Spike Jonze‘s Oscar-winning drama “Her” based on the director’s ex-girlfriend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O? That’s one intriguing fan theory proposed on Reddit that is gaining traction among the site’s community of film fans.

Jonze was married to fellow director Sofia Coppola from 1999 to 2003, and Coppola clearly based Giovanni Ribisi‘s character in “Lost in Translation” on her perception of Jonze, which may explain where he got the idea.

After Jonze and Coppola divorced in 2003, he began dating Karen O, who was nine years his junior and just beginning to take off with her band, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They broke up two years later but stayed friends and collaborated on songs for Jonze’s brilliant adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are,” for which they each earned Oscar nominations.

So here’s where we get to “LaBrea34’s” Reddit theory about “Her,” which they describe as “a movie about how a relationship could evolve beyond a romantic relationship, but still have love and collaboration.” Let’s allow the writer to explain further in their own words.

“Most of the pieces I’ve read about HER are about how a relationship with technology would work and how AI would evolve past us and so on. But I don’t think HER is about dating a “Siri” type AI. It’s about Spike Jonze, freshly divorced, dating a much younger woman, Karen O, as she becomes a world famous rock star. Since Karen is constantly touring and doing promotion, most of their relationship occurs over the phone.And as Karen, who was in her mid-20s, met tons of interesting people and grew, she naturally changed over time. To the point where she and Spike’s relationship met a breaking point, although they clearly still have a strong relationship creatively. Just not a romantic one.

This all would sync up pretty closely with the evolution of the relationship in HER where, at first, Theodore is the one showing and explaining the world to Samantha. Spike is a world famous music video and film director who would know all the most interesting people and places.

But as Karen travelled on tour, she’d meet her own network of cool and interesting people. Late in the movie, near the end of their relationship, Samantha introduces Theodore to an interesting AI, Alan Watts, that she’s met. Samantha and Alan try to explain to Theodore what it’s like to be changing so fast that you don’t even understand it yourself.

Which sounds pretty much like what it would be like to be in a small indie rock band in New York City one day and the lead singer of a world famous band touring the entire world the next day.

As well, there’s the scene where Theodore meets up with Catherine, his ex-wife:

Instead of Theodore telling Catherine he’s dating an operating system, imagine him telling her he’s dating someone nine years younger than him. Sofia was two years younger than Spike, 32. To hear that your ex-husband is dating someone only a few years out of college would seem pretty immature of him.

Certainly, it would seem like he was dating someone easier to control or less mature, which is what Catherine’s responses are about. “You wanted to have a wife without the challenges of dealing with anything real.”

For the full Karen O theory and deep thoughts about other movies, click through to Reddit.