The Big Lebowski has the bizarre claim of being one of the Coen Brothers’ most-beloved and most-hated movies. Audiences were split almost immediately upon the film’s release in 1998, with some falling instantly under the charms of the noir-infused film about a lovable slacker who just wanted his rug back. Others decry the movie for having no purpose and no plot; a point of contention that rages to this day, and even made it into a scene in Preacher earlier this year.
Whether you love it or hate it, the film is, at the very least, a bona fide cult classic. Fans have long clamored for a return of Jeff Bridges as The Dude, and rumors fly every few years that something might be in the works. So far, the Coen Brothers have remained firm, if coy, about the prospects of a Big Lebowski sequel. One star, however, is taking matters into his own hands.
Earlier this year it was reported that John Turturro was reprising his The Big Lebowski role of Jesus Quintana in Going Places. Those reports have now been confirmed with the release of the movie’s first official image (via Coming Soon), which definitively shows Turturro in character as “The Jesus.” Turturro wrote the screenplay for, and is directing Going Places, after getting permission from the Coens to use the character. Susan Sarandon (The Meddler), Audrey Tautou (Amelie), and Bobby Cannavale (Vinyl) co-star in the film.
Going Places is based on the 1974 French film of the same name, starring Gerard Depardieu. The modern version reportedly sees Jesus and two of his cohorts get caught up in a madcap situation – one where they make enemies with a gun-toting hairdresser and must go on the run, forming bonds of familial love between them in the process. The original film featured Depardieu and the late Patrick Dewaere (Hotel America) as a pair of criminals who form an unlikely bond with a hairdresser who is search of a sexual awakening.
You can check out the image of Turturro from Going Places, below:
We don’t yet know how closely Turturro’s film will follow the original Going Places, though supposedly the new film will retain the elements of criminality and sexuality found in its predecessor. The film is being billed as a spinoff of The Big Lebowski rather than a sequel, so it’s doubtful that there will be any connections to that film beyond the inclusion of Jesus. Still, judging from the photo of released today, it does seem that bowling, a central theme in The Big Lebowski, will be present in this spinoff.
Quintana is an interesting subject for a Lebowski spinoff. The bizarre character—one of many found in the film—has only a handful of scenes in that film and is, more or less, a blank slate. We know he’s a bowler with a unique style, and supposedly served time in prison for exposing himself to a child. Given that this information was provided by John Goodman’s Walter, however, it’s possible that isn’t precisely accurate.
For the most part, Quintana is a blank slate. In a way, he’s sort of the Boba Fett of The Big Lebowski. Despite being barely in the film, fans have latched onto the character over the years, and his few lines have become some of the most quoted from the film. That makes him more or less the perfect subject for a spinoff film, which might be the closest we ever get to a proper Lebowski sequel.
Turturro has his work cut out for him nevertheless. Part of the charm of The Big Lebowski is in the whip-smart Coen Brothers dialogue, which elevates an otherwise mundane story to something more genius. It’s difficult to imagine any character existing in a movie that the Coens didn’t write, so it’s possible that the character might lose some of his odd charm. It might also be a case of knowing too much. One of the reasons why Jesus Quintana is so popular is precisely because we know so little about him. His two scenes in The Big Lebowski work so well due to his mystery. Shedding too bright a light on him runs the risk of ruining the character.
Still, perhaps interest in Going Places will reignite interest in a Lebowski sequel. It would be nice to see Bridges don the robe once more. In the absence of that, seeing any character again is better than nothing. Turturro does have love for the character, so if nothing else it would stand to reason that he does justice to The Jesus.
Going Places is currently in production. An official theatrical release date has yet to be set.