Big Lebowski fans got a mixed blessing today as production company Sidney Kimmel Entertainment announced a spin-off of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 comedy that will focus on John Turturro’s Jesus Quintana.
The film, titled Going Places, is set to star Turturro (who’s also directing) and a promising slate of supporting actors including Bobby Canavale, Audrey Tautou, and Susan Sarandon. Based on 1974 French film Les Valseuses — which was once called, “an explosively funny erotic farce” — Turturro’s film will focus on the career of three smalltime crooks who have real problems being bad. It’s not that they’re not willing, it’s simply that their crimes keep turning into public service somehow. When the trio runs afoul of a “gun-toting hairdresser” they hit the road to outrun trouble.
It’s always gratifying when an actor is ready and willing to revisit one of their most beloved characters. While the absence of the Coens might strike some moviegoers as a bit troubling (and that’s completely understandable), Turturro is a decent filmmaker in his own right, and he’s got more than enough experience collaborating with the Academy Award-winning creators of the Jesus to understand the basics of crafting the character.
Above all of that, how much character did Jesus Quintana have in The Big Lebowski, anyway? We knew he took bowling seriously and that he wasn’t afraid to throw down when necessary. That’s pretty much it, though. All that was lovable about the character came from Turturro himself. He’s the most important part of any movie about the Jesus, which means Going Places might accidentally have a shot at being quality.