The Big Lebowski, from Joel and Ethan Coen, has become a comedic movie milestone. One element that helped catapult the film to cult fame is its colorful cast of characters -- audiences could understandably be interested in seeing the advent of a Big Lebowski shared universe, where each unique character gets their own spin-off movie.
As unlikely as that may be (the Coens don't really do sequels) the first Big Lebowski spin-off movie is in the works. The film is Going Places, a movie dedicated to the story of Jesus Quintana, played by John Turturro. After being greenlit earlier this year, Going Places has released the first look at The Jesus in the forthcoming movie.
The first image from Going Places features John Turturro happily reprising his briefly seen but beloved character, Jesus Quintana, from The Big Lebowski. True to the role and the movie's central theme, the sport of bowling will play a part in both Jesus' character and the story of Going Places.
Though Going Places has yet to confirm its exact timeline in relation to The Big Lebowski, it's safe to assume that the Jesus spin-off movie takes place after the events of the original movie. The now 59 year old John Turturro was 41 when he first played Jesus. Both his real life age and Jesus' graying hair point to the possibility that Going Places occurs years after The Dude (Jeff Bridges) found his rug.
It's currently unclear how close Going Places will be connected to The Big Lebowski. Chances are that this new film will acknowledge the events of the previous movie once in a while, but set its priorities in being a stand-alone comedy.
Based on the 1974 French erotic comedy of the same name, Going Places is Turturro's passion project and a love letter to the character of Jesus. Turturro not only wrote the script for Going Places after getting the Coen Brothers' blessing to use the character, but also directed. Bobby Cannavale, Audrey Tautou, and Susan Sarandon star in the movie alongside Tuturo.
According to Screen Rant, Going Places will not be a word for word retelling of the French comedy, and is instead loosely inspired by it. As the story goes, Jesus and his partners in crime get caught in a crazy criminal situation that puts their lives at risk. Now on the run from many enemies including a gun-wielding hairdresser, Jesus and his disciples begin to grow closer as familial love for one another forms.
Going Places' absurd premise fits the character of Jesus and the crazy world of The Big Lebowski, but it also risks ruining what made the original movie's cast so memorable. Part of The Big Lebowski's allure is that little is known about almost every character who makes an appearance, including Jesus. Outside of being the eccentric bowling rival of the Dude and a registered sex offender, Jesus' origins remain a mystery. There's also the fact that spin-off movies and shared universes that aren't connected to Marvel don't exactly have the strongest track record of success.
Jesus worked perfectly as a quirky wonder in The Big Lebowski. Even if audiences may have wanted more gags featuring The Jesus and his love of bowling balls, adding more of him than necessary would have stretched the joke thin.
Origin stories and spin-off sequels are the norm now, but Going Places stands out for being a character piece that stems from a cult classic rather than a popular blockbuster hit. Though there is understandable reason for concern from fans of The Big Lebowski or the Coen Brothers' works in general, Going Places has the potential to put the doubt to rest if it's as good as hoped for. With the amount of passion driving the project and the sheer insanity of the plot and starring character, Going Places could be a cult comedy hit in the making or a bad decision come to life.
Here's hoping that just like his namesake, Jesus saves Going Places and turns it into the former.