Every few years, someone asks Joel and Ethan Coen if they plan to make a sequel to “The Big Lebowski.” The media then runs wild with speculation and blog posts about what a sequel would look like. You might have seen a bunch of them last month.
The mythology of The Dude abides nearly two decades on. Odds are good you can quote a line or two from the film. “The Big Lebowski” inspired the Latin names of two species of spiders, a religion based on The Dude’s philosophy and an internationally-known annual festival. So as you can see, there are certainly enough people out there to pack the theater, should the sequel ever happen.
Unfortunately, despite the success of “The Big Lebowski,” every time they’re asked, the Coen Brothers say a sequel is not in the cards. So, imagine everyone’s surprise when Lebowski supporting character, Jesus, reportedly went and got his own movie, coming out next year.
Jesus Quintana Stars In A Remake Of … A French Film?!
So, first things first. I don’t want any Lebowski superfans to get their hopes up. As far as anyone knows, the new film has nothing to do with “The Big Lebowski.” Although I’m willing to bet my left arm there will be more than a few Easter eggs and allusions to it. But this new film is not a “Lebowski” sequel.
So what are we getting instead? John Turturro, who played Jesus Quintana, has said for many years that he loved the character. And Jesus is a fan favorite, stealing the very little screentime he has.
With the blessing of the Coen Brothers, Turturro is reportedly reviving the character and placing him in “Going Places,” a remake of a 1974 French film, “Les Valseuses.”
Think of the spinoff sort of like this: Frasier started as an obnoxious jerk on “Cheers” but then migrated to his own show (where he became a slightly-less-loathsome jerk). Though “Cheers” rarely interacted with “Frasier,” the shows were set in the same universe and occasionally something from “Cheers” would make its way over into the new show.
The Jesus spinoff movie isn’t quite as straightforward as “Frasier.” It’s weirder that that. The French film that “Going Places” plans to remake, aside from being patently ridiculous, was also controversial upon its release. “Infamous” might be a better way to describe it, because of stuff like this: The film involves a threesome followed by the suicide of one of its participants.
Guess it wasn’t a good time? All kidding aside, a lot of people—Roger Ebert among them—found the film’s treatment of women to be deplorable. He wrote that the film’s “hatred for women is palpable and embarrassing.”
The original film was billed as a comedy, but it’s pretty clear, based on the response to it, that not many people were laughing. Maybe the remake will fix that?
We don’t know much else about “Going Places.” The film just started shooting in New York City, and while Turturro does star, it’s not confirmed that the character he plays is Jesus himself. Susan Sarandon is said to be playing the role of the woman who commits suicide.
I know we’re all excited about the possibility of SOMEONE from “The Big Lebowski” returning to the screen, especially when that someone is as excellent and quotable as “The Jesus.” This new film could go either way. The original source material is sketchy at best, but there are some fun elements at play here that I think are worth keeping an eye on.
“Going Places” could be a superior, funny remake of “Les Valseuses”—or it could be something we forget about six months after it’s released.
At the very least, “The Jesus” may soon resurrect, and that can’t be all bad. Can it?