Essays · Movies

Are They Really Going to F*ck with The Jesus?

By  · Published on August 22nd, 2016

Rumors are swirling around a Big Lebowski spinoff for John Turturro.

John Turturro has been making great strides in pop culture lately starting with a key role on the acclaimed HBO series The Night Of. He has also recently began shooting Going Places, a remake of the 1974 French film Les Valseuses, which Birth.Movies.Death. reported is actually a spin-off of The Big Lebowski centered around Turturro’s Jesus Quintana character. The film, which does not yet have a distributor, follows two petty thieves, Turturro’s Jesus and Petey (Bobby Cannavale), who “compete to give a woman (Audrey Tautou) her first orgasm after she’s roped into their hijinks.” Susan Sarandon also ends up in the mix, playing a criminal who just got out of prison after a long sentence.

The kicker is that the film is a remake of Bertrand Blier’s 1974 French sex comedy Les Valseuses but with a character from the Coen brothers classic. The French comedy originally starred Gerard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere as womanizing criminals and “Les Valseuses,” translates into English as “the waltzers,” a vulgar French slang term for “the testicles.” Birth.Death.Movies reported that Roger Ebert dubbed it “the most misogynistic movie [he could] remember,” so combining that with Quintana’s ridiculous machismo and swagger will surely be interesting. A peek at an old trailer for the original film shows why it could work ‐ there’s the obvious bowling references, opportunities for funny, sexy times, and hilarious hijinks that could ensue.

This Jesus Quintana-centered movie is definitely weird and awesome news for fans of The Big Lebowski. Turturro has worked extensively with Joel and Ethan Coen, with roles in Miller’s Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), The Big Lebowski (1998) and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). Though the brothers are reportedly not creatively involved, they have supported Turturro in his directorial efforts in the past including serving as executive producers on Romance & Cigarettes (2005), a musical Turturro directed starring James Gandolfini, Cannavale and Sarandon.

We’ll have to wait and see how the film turns out and which distributor might pick it up for release. But based on Bobby Canavale’s recent Instagram photo from the set, it looks like we can already expect a similar style and perhaps humor from The Big Lebowski. Fingers crossed it won’t be as sexist as its French source material, and that Turturro’s script will find a way to clarify Quintana’s questionable background.

Going Places is sure to be a fun comeback movie for Jesus and of course Turturro, who is a respected actor in his own right. There’s a reason Spike Lee has worked with him the most out of any actor in his oeuvre. Now is Turturro’s time to shine in a leading role, and show folks just why “nobody f***s with the Jesus.” Plus the film already has a built-in audience of fans of The Big Lebowski, Turturro’s rendition of Jesus Quintana, and the Coen brothers’ brand of humor. As we’ve seen with the likes of Stranger Things, tapping on the nostalgia of cult movies and television shows has proven to be the most successful and creatively efficient way to capitalize on an old property without having to shamelessly reboot or remake it. (Looking at you, Ben-Hur.)

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Writer. Audio/Creative Producer. Columnist, Film School Rejects.