John Turturro was honored at the Taormina Film Festival over the weekend, and a Q&A session led to a quote that could mean good news for fans of The Big Lebowski and its fantastically flamboyant pederast, Jesus “The Jesus” Quintana. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Actor John Turturro, who played the colorful bowler named Jesus in The Big Lebowski, told a master class Saturday that — assuming he can get legal clearance — he’d like to reprise that role in a new film next year.
“If I can get the permission I need, I’d like to return to that role,” he said to loud applause.
The idea of a Jesus spinoff/sequel/whatever has been kicked around for years, almost exclusively by Turturro, but this is the first time the man behind the role has stamped a timetable on his ambition. As far back as 2008, Turturro was outlining his idea for a Jesus film in a Rolling Stone article celebrating the film’s 10th anniversary (“Ten-year-olds, Dude.”). The concept was, um, not good:
Recently, [John] Turturro has been discussing the possibility of a Lebowski sequel with the Coens, starring Jesus. “We’ve been talking about it for a while,” Turturro says. “Even if they wouldn’t do it, they could just write it, and then I’ll do it.” The story is simple: Jesus gets out of jail and lands a job as a bus driver for a girls’ high school volleyball team. “The movie will be about him dealing with his demons,” Turturro says. “It will be like a combination of Rocky and The Bad News Bears. At the very least we’d have to have a Dude cameo.”
Yikes. The idea was so bad, the Coens couldn’t even remember it when they were forced to (yet again) shoot down sequel talk last year:
“John Turturro, who wants it, talks to us incessantly about doing a sequel about his (bowler) character Jesus,” Ethan Coen said.
“He even has the story worked out, which he’s pitched to us a few times, but I can’t really remember it… No, I don’t see it in our future.”
Joel Coen was even firmer: “I don’t think it’s going to happen … I just don’t like sequels.”
So there you have it. Unless something has changed the Coens’ collective mind — Turturro being pimped out by Woody Allen probably didn’t do the trick — it’s unlikely that anything will come of Turturro’s talk.
Which is probably for the best. Nothing this beautiful should ever run the risk of being tainted: