'John Turturro is much less tortured than I was expecting. One doesn't like to get performers too mixed up with their roles, but I can’t get the image of him as Barton Fink, the tortured playwright caught in a long dark night of the soul in the Coen’s Palme’ D’Or winning comedy of 1991, out of my head. Of all the Coens patises, Turturro played put-upon best: He seemed somehow twisted around himself, like a corkscrew, his smile forever on the point of sliding slowly off his face, and in roles for Spike Lee and Robert Redford he seemed to specialize in the kind of guys — embattled, tightly wound, thin-skinned —who draw injury from the universe like lightning. That high-rise ‘Fro seemed frazzled with bad karma. His curls are speckled with a little salt and pepper, these days. A wiry 57, he arrives for lunch at Bar Pitti on Sixth Avenue looking debonair in a cashmere Canali sports jacket. Posing for a selfie with a fan on the way in, he is guided to a corner table of the restaurant by its owners, who greet him on first name terms. Turturro likes his neighborhood joints. He gets his coffee from the same Puerto Rico coffee house in Park Slope every morning, and gives money to his favorite down-town cinema, Film Forum. “If I come here I know what I can get with the kind of cooking it is,” he says as a waiter arrives bearing a portable blackboard of specials that he perches on his knee. He’s a little nervous: this weekend his latest movie, Fading Gigolo, which he both wrote directed and stars in, adds 100 cinemas to its release in the US. “I was on the phone all day yesterday saying, "That's too much,” he says. “But all the theaters want it. People are enjoying the movie so much. That’s why you do it for, but I'm like, ‘Wow, really that’s a little much...’ I’ll have the plate of asparagus please.”'
May 19, 2014
INTERVIEW: JOHN TURTURRO