Posted on Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 by Germain Lussier
You know him, you love him, you’ve been creeped out by him. Nobody f’s with the Jesus. John Turturro‘s character in The Big Lebowski, Jesus Quintana, is only on screen for a few minutes. He utters only a few precious lines of dialogue. But he’s just as memorable, if not more so, than the lead characters created by Joel and Ethan Coen. Now, it turns out, Turturro is trying to secure the rights to the character to revisit the role in a new film. Read more about the potential Big Lebowski Jesus movie below.
Details are incredibly scarce but Turturro was speaking at the Taormina Film Festival in Italy and the Hollywood Reporter was in attendance. When asked about playing Jesus in The Big Lebowski, the actor said the following:
If I can get the permission I need, I’d like to return to that role.
Sounds surprising, but it turns out this is an idea that the actor/director has been pursuing for several years. In 2009, he mentioned it in an interview:
I have an idea, I want to do like a sequel where Jesus gets out of jail and drives a school bus. They like that idea! Because the guys that drive school buses, they never check them out. And you can just see the Jesus [grinning, bobbing his head] drivin’ the school bus…
Then in 2011, he said this about a Big Lebowski Jesus movie.
The only reason I wanted to make—well, not a sequel, but a spin-off or something. Joel and Ethan don’t really want to do it, but if I can get them to approve my outline, which I think they liked…. Anyway, the only reason I wanted to do it was so that people will stop asking me questions about The Big Lebowski. So I could just get it out and do it and finish it. Because people are obsessed with the movie and obsessed with that guy.
And at Cannes last year, the Coens said Turturro “talks to us incessantly about doing a sequel about his character Jesus.”
Even though Jesus was only on screen for a few minutes in The Big Lebowski, the Coens gave him a pretty rich background. The film famously flashes back to Jesus moving into a new neighborhood and going door to door because he’s a registered sex offender. That, along his obvious talent for gab – and bowling – are solid character traits that can surely be used in another movie.
But do you want to see a full Jesus movie? Wasn’t the fun of him the fact he’s not the star of the movie, just a hilarious supporting character?
While the Coens were resistant to the idea in the past, recently they have shown a willingness to revisit and revise old material with the FX show Fargo. The success of that might help persuade them to allow Turturro revisit the character in some way. And, let’s be honest, whether this is another cameo or a full movie, we’ll line up.