In the disreputable and benighted cinematic cul-de-sac that is the spinoff movie, there’s not much hidden treasure to be found. It’s almost like the idea of taking an ancillary character from a successful film and trying to stretch his or her narratively truncated running time into an entire feature smacks of rank opportunism. Or something. (Half-hearted apologies to exceptions that prove the rule like Creed, Get Him To The Greek, and how about a little love for Night Train To Munich.) Still, if anybody’s going to be able to break the “seemingly unnecessary farting around” curse, it just might be writer-actor-director and forever Jesus John Turturro, who is bringing back everyone’s favorite purple jump-suited, salsa-dancing bowling god and convicted sex criminal Jesus Quintana from The Big Lebowski in his film The Jesus Rolls.
Appearing on The Late Show on Thursday in advance of his oddball brainchild’s Friday release, Turturro explained to Stephen Colbert that turning the Jesus’ memorable but five-minute single scene in The Big Lebowski into as full-length feature wasn’t particularly difficult in itself. For one thing, The Jesus Rolls is actually a remake of Bertrand Blier’s raucously irreverent 1974 Gerard Depardieu/Patrick Dewaere/Miou-Miou road trip comedy Going Places, which should help filling out the Jesus’ disreputable adventures nicely. But, as Tuurturro told Colbert, he’s been pestering the Coen Brothers (who are in no way involved in The Jesus Rolls) to reprise his iconic weirdo onscreen since the turn of the century. (He only obliquely addressed the whole “Eight-year-olds, Dude,” thing, so let’s see how that plays out.)
Explaining that he’s tapped once more into “the whole kind of philosophy of The Big Lebowski” in its celebration of the grimy, minor triumphs of the world’s “underachievers,” Turturro beamed throughout with the sort of acclaimed filmmaker’s pride in achieving something strange and thoroughly baffling and superfluous. Showing a clip of the Jesus immediately seducing a sexy fellow bowler through the exquisitely choreographed art of the salsa (with co-star Bobby Cannavale gamely trying the same via an enthusiastic chair dance), Turturro assured the clearly tickled Colbert that, yes, he and the Jesus both still have the moves. He also confirmed that, in the film, The Jesus does have a threesome with the characters played by Cannavale and Susan Sarandon, giving lie to the notion that you just don’t fuck with The Jesus. That’s just how the Jesus rolls these days.