When the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski was unleashed on an unsuspecting world back in 1998, it came with a powerhouse of a cast. John Goodman, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and, of course Jeff Bridges as ‘The Dude’, all turned in bravura performances, but it was John Turturro as Jesus ‘The Jesus’ Quintana whom many remember with a genuine fondness. Now, the actor and director has set his sights on a spin-off featuring his legendary character.
Speaking at the recent Taormina Film Festival, Sicily’s annual jamboree, Turturro expressed his interest in resurrecting Jesus (sorry) for a new movie: “If I can get the permission I need, I’d like to return to the role.”
This drew rapturous applause and cheers from those in attendance which, although ‘The Jesus’ features for only a few minutes in the movie, is hardly surprising, as this almost cameo role is widely regarded as one of the high points of the entire film. With the scene set to a flamenco version of The Eagles’ Hotel California, Jesus’ penchant for caressing a bowling ball almost as if it were a sex object, plus an arrogant contempt for his opponents, ensured that a legend was born.
Hold on a minute though, because we’ve been forgetting one minor detail here. ‘The permission I need’ that Turturro referred to would come from the Coen Brothers, the brains behind The Big Lebowski as well as Jesus himself. So what do they themselves make of it all? “John talks to us incessantly about doing a sequel,” said Ethan. “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.”
So does this mean we’ll never see Jesus hit a strike ever again? Not necessarily, especially if Turturro has his way, but if and when a movie does materialise, it’ll surely be no turkey.