(Photo by Matthew Septimus / Courtesy The Greene Space at WNYC)

(Photo by Matthew Septimus / Courtesy The Greene Space at WNYC)

Alec Baldwin does a mean Donald Trump. Wait, that was redundant. Alec Baldwin does a spot-on Donald Trump. And not only is he great at impersonating a leaking colostomy bag that a Hofstra frat pledge drunkenly planted on a debate podium, he’s also the host of a pretty great radio show, Here’s the Thing. Fun fact: You can now attend tapings of the program by keeping an eye on The Greene Space, the intimate room in the WNYC studios where episodes are recorded. On Tuesday, we did just that and sat in as Baldwin’s guest John Turturro took the stage in… cornrows?

It’s safe to say Turturro’s explanation bowled us over: He said he had just finished reviving his beloved Big Lebowski character, Jesus Quintana, for Going Places, his reimagining of the French sex romp Les Valseuses. The 1974 film starring Gérard Depardieu is about two ne’er-do-wells tearing across France in an orgy of threesomes and petty crime. (Its title means “The Waltzers” or “The Testicles,” Turturro translated.)

“It was a film that kind of blew my mind when I was a kid,” Turturro told Baldwin. “I was rewatching it and I wrote to [writer-director] Bertrand Blier and I asked him, ‘Did you ever think someone could make an American version of it?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I’ve seen your films and you’re crazy enough, and here’s the rights.'”

(Photo by Matthew Septimus / Courtesy The Greene Space at WNYC)

(Photo by Matthew Septimus / Courtesy The Greene Space at WNYC)

Turturro said he decided to reprise Jesus, the purple-clad pederast with a penchant for polishing bowling balls, while doing early readings for the adaptation: “I was kind of unhappy with what I was doing and then I thought of, Well, you know there’s a character that I’ve done in a play and also in a movie that could kind of maybe work. And I tried it and it did.”

The Jesus originally evolved from a character Turturro did in a play, Mi Puta Vida, at the Public Theater in 1988. The Coen brothers saw it and asked him to do a version of the slick-talking sicko for their film. During a New School appearance in 2009, Turturro said that he always declines to bring back versions of his cult characters for other directors (after all, nobody fucks with the Jesus). Still, he admitted that he wanted to do “a sequel where Jesus gets out of jail and drives a school bus.” In 2011 he told A.V. Club that the Coen brothers would never helm such a spin-off (“It would have to be something that maybe I’d have to do”) and back in July he described the potential comeback as a “very complicated legal situation.”

Still, the project ended up happening with the blessing of the Coens. Going Places— which also stars Bobby Cannavale, Audrey Tautou and Susan Sarandon– filmed in New York in August, so it’ll be a little while before we find out whether the film is a hit with Lebowski fans or whether they say, “Laughable, mang!”

In the meantime, you can replay the livestream of Here’s the Thing, below, and watch Turturro talk about the awkwardness of working with a black cast on Do the Right Thing (“you’d see the five takes of me saying all these racist things”), his own additions to the script (“there were things [Spike Lee] didn’t know, you know, that were said about black people”), the directorial guidance he got from Sir Anthony Hopkins (“I’d like you to do this scene, excuse the metaphor, like a cockroach on fire”), and the tough notes he took from Woody Allen (“It was beyond merciless. At the end of it, of course he says ‘Well, I could be wrong.'”)