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John Turturro's Jesus-centered 'Lebowski' spin-off sounds weird

Called "Going Places," the forthcoming movie is a semi-remake of an infamous French classic, natch.

The Coen brothers aren’t against sequels. They’ve long threatened to do a “Barton Fink” follow-up called “Old Fink,” which they say they’ll make once star John Turturro is a handful of years older. But they want nothing to do with your love for what’s almost certainly their most popular film, “The Big Lebowski.” A sequel about the Dude is not forthcoming, meaning you’ll have to make do with endlessly rewatching the original, quoting Walter Sobchak lines to friends, going to “Lebowski” conventions, drinking White Russians at “Lebowski”-themed bars — all pretty good for a movie that, back in 1998, was ignored by the public and written off by critics as a silly and inexplicable chaser to the esteemed “Fargo.”

(Fun fact! Back when "Fargo" super-fans Siskel and Ebert smacked down "The Big Lebowski" on their show, they used Jesus' famously silly post-strike dance as proof that the film was not funny. You can watch it at the bottom of this post.)

John Turturro plays Jesus Quintana in GOING PLACES, a film about a trio of misfits whose irreverent, sexually charged dynamic evolves into a surprising love story as their spontaneous and flippant attitude towards the past or future backfires time and again, even as they inadvertently perform good deeds. When they make enemies with a gun-toting hairdresser, their journey becomes one of constant escape from the law, from society and from the hairdresser, all while the bonds of their outsider family strengthen.

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The Coens, however, are not against someone who’s not them doing a “Lebowski” spin-off. Indeed, it’s Turturro himself who’s doing one. We’ve already known about his forthcoming movie, which trails minor-but-crucial supporting player Jesus Quintana, the hotheaded, hot-dancing bowler who also happens to be a convicted pedo. But now we have a picture of Turturro-as-Jesus (in a bowling alley, natch, below) and a plot description.

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The film will not only be called “Going Places” but — as you no doubt expected — it’s also a loose remake-of-sorts of Bertrand Blier’s scandalous 1974 French erotic dramedy of the same name. That film featured a strapping, ’70s Gerard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere carousing about the country, stealing, getting into threesomes and engaging in the occasional rape. (It was one of Isabelle Huppert’s first big films, which should tell you everything.) Turturro’s version throws in not only Jesus the bowler, but a gun-toting hairdresser, as well as Bobby Canavale, Audrey Tautou and Susan Sarandon. The plot description:

This could be a lot wilder — and weirder — than your casual “Lebowski”-head may want. As a director, Turturro has a diverse, surprising, sometimes out-there filmography. This includes “Romance & Cigarettes,” a cranked-to-11, sweary and lewd musical starring James Gandolfini and Kate Winslet; “Passione,” a documentary tour of Neapolitan music, with Turturro as a purring guide; and “Fading Gigolo,” a Woody Allen-style rom-com in which Turturro plays a male prostitute whose pimp is played by Woody Allen himself. Whatever Turturro has concocted, it has no distributor, and has yet to make the festival rounds. But like its predecessor, it’ll probably leave many scratching their heads, at least at first.

Oh, and remember: It's pronounced like Jesus, the son of God. Not "Jésus." Jesus.

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter@mattprigge
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