Jesus is ready to roll and bowl again. A few years ago, John Turturro wrote and directed a spinoff from The Big Lebowski about his now iconic character, “The Jesus.” Turturro shot the movie over three years ago, and from what I heard, it’s a very dark comedy and not particularly commercial.
The Jesus Rolls may have sat on the shelf for a reason, but finally, it’s coming out next month.
The Jesus Rolls Teaser
Turturro based his spinoff on the Bertrand Blier’s French film Going Places, adapted from his novel “Les valseuses.” It’s a road trip story, with Turturro hitting the road as Jesus with a few friends with him.
Along Jesus’ journey, Turturro will share the screen with co-stars Bobby Cannavale, Susan Sarandon, Jon Hamm, Audrey Tautou, and Christopher Walken.
The movie premiered at the Roman Film Festival last year, where the few reviews that came out weren’t too positive. Still, anticipation is high in some corners. It is a spinoff of The Big Lebowski afterall, one of the greatest comedies of all time.
If Turturro captures any of the magic he brought to the Coen Brothers’ movie as the bowler with a criminal record named “The Jesus,” then at least The Jesus Rolls will have some laughs.
The Coen Brothers Approved
The Coen Brothers aren’t involved at all in the comedy. They’re not presenting, producing, or anything. Joel and Ethan Coen did, however, give Turturro their blessing.
The filmmakers have never made a sequel or spin-off themselves, and funnily enough, aren’t as fond of The Big Lebowski as the rest of the world. They once said the love it gets puzzles them a little bit, but then again, they’re the Coens and they’re modest in interviews.
The actor couldn’t have made the movie if they didn’t sign off, as he told Indiewire:
“I showed it to Joel and Ethan, and they said, ‘Yeah, this is the right [way to go]. Just like when we did ‘The Big Lebowski,’ it needs to be its own thing. They’re my friends, close friends, and were supportive when I said I wanna explore this character more. They said, you gotta do it cause we’re not doing it!”
Turturro had to get permission from Universal Studios, too, which was trickier than getting the Coens to sign off. It was a more complicated process, with Turturro having to promise not to kill off the iconic character. Turturro agreed.
John Turturro: Director
We all know Turturro is one of the finest character actors around. Obviously, he’s put timeless movie magic on the screen with the Coen Brothers, especially with The Jesus. No other character in cinema is like The Jesus. The character is in good hands with writer-director John Turturro, who wrote and directed a modest hit a few years ago with Fading Gigolo, which co-starred Woody Allen. It got the most recognized of all of Turturro’s directorial efforts, but Romance & Cigarettes is where it’s at.
The 2005 musical is a wonderfully zany, exciting vision from Turturro with such playful characters and musical numbers. Years from now, don’t be surprised if the movie reaches a cult status. It’s such a colorful and imaginative musical, flaws and all, with a stellar cast.
If you want to watch Christopher Walken, Susan Sarandon, and James Ganolfini living it up and singing and dancing in a bombastically stylish comedy, watch Romance & Cigarettes. It’s delightful.
The Synopsis for Jesus Rolls
The Jesus rolls on. Hours after being released from prison, Jesus Quintana (John Turturro) pairs up with fellow misfits Petey (Bobby Cannavale) and Marie (Audrey Tautou), and embarks on a freewheeling joyride of petty crime and romance.
Jesus Rolls opens in theaters in February 28th.