Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Official Look: Jared Leto As The Joker In 'Suicide Squad' First Official Look: Jared Leto As The Joker In 'Suicide Squad' Joss Whedon Says He Earned More Making 'Dr. Horrible' Than 'The Avengers,' Weighs In On Marvel Vs. DC Joss Whedon Says He Earned More Making 'Dr. Horrible' Than 'The Avengers,' Weighs In On Marvel Vs. DC Tom Hardy Met Mel Gibson And Made Him A Bracelet, Says Michael Fassbender Was "The Sh*t" In School Tom Hardy Met Mel Gibson And Made Him A Bracelet, Says Michael Fassbender Was "The Sh*t" In School Native Actors Walk Off Set Of Adam Sandler's 'Ridiculous 6' Over Disrespectful, Insulting Script Native Actors Walk Off Set Of Adam Sandler's 'Ridiculous 6' Over Disrespectful, Insulting Script Watch: Johnny Depp Rages As Whitey Bulger In First Trailer For Gangster Tale 'Black Mass' Watch: Johnny Depp Rages As Whitey Bulger In First Trailer For Gangster Tale 'Black Mass' Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' And More Added To Cannes Film Festival Lineup Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' And More Added To Cannes Film Festival Lineup First Look: Johnny Depp Goes Gangster In As Whitey Bulger In 'Black Mass' First Look: Johnny Depp Goes Gangster In As Whitey Bulger In 'Black Mass' Watch: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Michael Fassbender And More Talk The Art Of Acting Watch: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Michael Fassbender And More Talk The Art Of Acting Review: Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Starring Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson & More Review: Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Starring Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson & More Watch: Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, And More Talk The Art Of Filmmaking Watch: Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, And More Talk The Art Of Filmmaking Christopher Nolan's Favorite Sequence From His Movies Is The Airplane Kidnapping Scene From 'The Dark Knight Rises' Christopher Nolan's Favorite Sequence From His Movies Is The Airplane Kidnapping Scene From 'The Dark Knight Rises' Joss Whedon Calls Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' "The Best Script Marvel Ever Had," Warns Of Serialized Moviemaking Joss Whedon Calls Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' "The Best Script Marvel Ever Had," Warns Of Serialized Moviemaking The 41 Most Anticipated Movies Of Summer 2015 The 41 Most Anticipated Movies Of Summer 2015 Watch: First Teaser For 'Star Wars: Rogue One,' Plot Details Confirmed Watch: First Teaser For 'Star Wars: Rogue One,' Plot Details Confirmed Martin Scorsese's List Of 85 Must-See Films Martin Scorsese's List Of 85 Must-See Films The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

Interview: John Turturro Talks Making 'Fading Gigolo,' 'Big Lebowski' Spinoff, 'Exodus' And More

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 18, 2014 at 12:05PM

It wouldn't be a mistake to call John Turturro one of the finest character actors currently working. But he's also an accomplished writer/director with four very different features under his belt, from his debut family drama "Mac" to the period theatre tale "Illuminata" and two music driven efforts, "Romance & Cigarettes" and "Passione." And for his latest turn behind (and in front of) the camera, he shifts gears again with "Fading Gigolo."
0
Fading Gigolo

It wouldn't be a mistake to call John Turturro one of the finest character actors currently working. But he's also an accomplished writer/director with four very different features under his belt, from his debut family drama "Mac" to the period theatre tale "Illuminata" and two music driven efforts, "Romance & Cigarettes" and "Passione." And for his latest turn behind (and in front of) the camera, he shifts gears again with "Fading Gigolo."

Featuring Woody Allen taking a rare screen acting role opposite Turturro in a project that isn't one of his own films, the movie is presented within the framework of a sex comedy but with much more happening underneath. While 'Fading Gigolo' tells the story of florist Fioravante who is convinced by his friend to sell his more carnal talents to earn some big cash. There's quite a lovely and tender romance developing in the picture, and what unfolds is a tale of friendships, relationships, religion and love.

"Fading Gigolo" is now headed to home video, and last week we had the pleasure of speaking with John Turturro over the phone about the film. He provided generous answers to our questions about the movie, and below we've excerpted the highlights of our conversation which touched upon on the making of "Fading Gigolo," working with Woody Allen, the upcoming "Big Lebowski" spinoff and more.

Fading Gigolo

How the film came together, and Woody Allen's involvement
...the guy who cuts Woody's hair cuts my hair. He was always telling me you guys should do something together. I had done a little part for Woody [in "Hannah And Her Sisters"] and he asked me to do something else later on, but I couldn’t do it. Once I was up for the main role [in a film], it was between me and someone else and he went a different way. I always knew he kind of liked me. I did a little movie with Doug McGrath called "Company Man," and we spent a little time together. I was always a big fan of his and I was just thinking...there's certain things he likes —basketball, foreign movies, especially old Italian movies— and the idea of us together could be very interesting.

Then I was thinking about all these places that are going out of business. Book stores, record stores, CD stores or little shops...You see all these little movie theaters that I used to go to to watch revivals, and theaters that I've worked at [closing]. I was thinking about how people nowadays people have to reinvent themselves. People who have lost a lot of their savings… I was thinking, wow, suppose you were in this situation and the guy had to reinvent himself, what would he do?  Then the idea for the movie sort of came out.

I have a few friends who always have a girlfriend, they’re like serial daters, [the relationships} expire in six months. Then after a while you think, wow, that's some kind of way to live. Sometimes people are a little enclosed in their own privacy, and they don't want to share everything. So I thought that would be an interesting idea. I told my haircutter and he told Woody. I don't know if I asked him, but he had the courage to tell Woody. Woody liked the idea, we discussed it and then I started writing it and then Woody would give me feedback. I didn't know if he wanted to do something bold, something risqué and the first draft I don’t think he really responded to except for a couple of small things. He encouraged me to make it more nuanced and stuff. He never told me what to do, but he was pretty merciless...

"Even in a lot of Shakespearean plays there's sometimes low comedy within it. I think you can have both. I think a comedy can be really serious too. "

Balancing the various tones
Well, the intimate stories just emerged from it. It was much broader originally, and then I thought, wow, this is something that’s very strong and of course it got even stronger because of Vanessa Paradis' performance. She did a lot of research and embodied it in a way that was very moving. I thought there was a loneliness to a lot of the characters that were trying to connect.

A lot of movies that I love, whether by Fellini or Jean Renoir, sometimes have real delicate things and really broad things. It can be like a commedia dell'arte approach, and then in the middle of it there's this tenderness....Even in a lot of Shakespearean plays there's sometimes low comedy within it. I think you can have both. I think a comedy can be really serious too. 

...I didn't know the movie was going to be as delicate as it turned out to be especially in the middle of the movie, where it turns. I think that can happen in life. Sometimes you start out saying, oh this is going to be easy, and then all of a sudden you go, wow, this is not what I thought it was going to be.

This article is related to: Interviews, Interviews, Interview, John Turturro, The Big Lebowski, Fading Gigolo, Exodus: Gods And Kings


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates