We’re used to seeing veteran actor and director John Turturro as all sorts of characters – from a playwright in Barton Fink to Agent Simmons in the Transformers films to the iconic Jesus Quintana in The Big Lebowski. But in his upcoming film, Fading Gigolo, which he wrote, directed, and stars in, Turturro assumes the oldest profession – alongside his unlikely pimp, played by Woody Allen.
Allen plays a bookstore owner and Turturro his younger florist neighbor. After a chance conversation with Allen’s dermatologist, played by Sharon Stone, Turturro is roped into assisting with her “plumbing” needs and his new career takes off from there. His relationships span from the wealthy women of New York to a quiet, repressed Hasidic Jewish woman from Brooklyn, played by Vanessa Paradis.
Turturro tells EW he’s always been interested in movies about prostitution, starting with Midnight Cowboy, and that his film explores the cost of intimacy for these characters. “I’ve always been interested in the transaction that goes on, there’s always human overtones in that. In a lot of old movies, in the ’30s, a lot of people played street walkers or street hustlers or prostitutes and there’s something about it I found interesting.” But the initial spark came from a surprising connection between Turturro and Allen: “I was just thinking about something for Woody and me, since we both share the same barber and he always kept telling me, ‘You guys should do something together,'” Turturro says.
While the pair worked together previously in the theater and on Hannah and Her Sisters, with Fading Gigolo the tables were turned. “I wanted to write for Woody, so therefore he had to feel comfortable,” Turturro says, adding that they collaborated and worked through several ideas for the script together. “Maybe I’m more of a dramatic instinct or rhythm and he’s more of a comedic, so I wanted to push those things together a little bit. I like things that are funny too. We wanted it to be human, a human comedy.”
Above, check out the exclusive poster for Fading Gigolo, which is set to hit theaters in spring 2014.