When I sat down with John Turturro this week in "Salon Talks" to discuss his role vis-à-vis Julianne Moore in "Gloria Bell", in which he plays a divorced in search of love, this It made me think about how I saw older people younger.
As a child, I have never seen the past be a child. I remember being at the market with my mother at the time I was in elementary school and seeing one of my teachers. I started going out. "What's she doing outside of school!" Does not she live in the classroom? This same mentality followed me to high school and college, where I lived every moment and acted as if tomorrow was not preparing. People always say that life is short and can be, but in reality, life is long – very long – with many phases and opportunities for growth.
Our ageist society could do much better by recognizing the perspectives of our more experienced citizens. I do not try to preach, but people who are over 50 are also partying, they have sex, they fall in love, they smoke grass, they create l & # 39; art, they fall in love, they experience triumphs and fear, and they can be dysfunctional. All this is on display in Sebastián Lelio's new film "Gloria Bell" (released in theaters now), which follows a free-spirited, middle-aged divorcee played by Moore since his right-handed office work until he At his nights on the dance. floor where she meets and falls in love with Arnold (Turturro).
In our conversation "Salon Talks", Turturro and I discussed the film, its age and how it has come to light over time that its relationships with the elderly, its history and aging have allowed it to become a better artist. The overnight success stories promoted on social media have so many young people who think that you have to reach all your goals before age 25 – and be perfect before age 30 – and this is just not the case for most people. In fact, Turturro tells me, "I'm a better actor now than I was then."
Watch our Talks Salon episode here, or read the complete transcript of the questions and answers below.
"Gloria Bell" is actually a remake. Tell us how this project fell on your lap.
Yes, the original movie is great. It is a woman in the middle of her life, no one really pays attention to her, she is divorced, her children do not pay attention to her, her work is threatened. She's going to dance, which the people of Latin culture do a lot. This is a brave woman who is looking to have another chance to love or have a relationship that would make sense to her. She gets to know this guy who loves him very much, but he has not completely broken up, he has not cut the cord of his dysfunctional relationship with his wife and two daughters who really depend on from him.
I love the original and Julianne Moore was going to do it – and I'd never worked with Julianne before, even though we were in 'The Big Lebowski'. And the director, Sebastián Lelio, is great. He said that he was going to do it again. Because of him, I said to him: well, you know, I have to work with you two and I said well can you tell me about the character that you would be useful?
And he said well, it's a guy who continues to try. He continues to try, but he continues to fail. But he continues to try. And then he fails better. I thought, okay. I'm going for a ride with you guys. It was a really wonderful experience working with them because the film talks about what's going on between people. It's not like one person was a superhero and the other a bad guy. You see what people are able to change or change their lives. And some people can not do that. He speaks of man as a human being.
For me, there was a lot of this daily magic that we sometimes ignore. You and Julianne Moore, you have a lot of chemistry.
Well, we worked very well together. I was playing basketball seriously and I am a basketball fan. When a team passes the ball, when you have actors who listen and answer each other, the space between the actors is created. But if you are good at what you do and do what I do, but we never really bump against each other, the hole does not do it. . . it's as if one plus one can be two, or maybe five. And that's what it is. It's really very interesting for a great sports team when we see everyone working together. Also, in the case of a love affair, it is very important that you focus on the other person. If that happens, you do not think so much about yourself anymore.
That's why I did not do it as a ball player. I played very well with people who understood that I had to score. [Laughs.]
It's good. I'll pass you the ball when I play with you, I'll pass the ball. But I think there are teammates who make everyone better.
The Magics, Chris Paul.
Yeah, you can also be a great defensive player and make everyone better. And sometimes you need that person who makes all the intangible assets to have a good team. And without that, you do not have that kind of team.
Yes, I had the impression that you have been working together for years. How did you prepare?
When I prepare, everything is different.
To play a guy like Arnold, though. This is a different type of character.
I know guys [like him]. Many women in the film told me that they knew a lot of guys like that, who said they were divorced, but they were really separated, but they really lived on the couch. They may have a small apartment but they never go there.
And I know people who have had dysfunctional relationships that. . . This is not good. And they should come out. And some, it takes them years to get out and sometimes they can never get out of it. I thought he was sincere in what he was trying to do, but then he could not stand it. He would always come back. It's like coming back to a life of crime or a drug life. Everyone has their addiction or things that make them feel safe.
Yes, you feel comfortable to be unhappy. Or you feel something to be abused or something. And you have too much guilt to say, "Listen, I've been here for a while, I deserve something."
Being happy is scary and trying new things is scary.
You can have this in your own family. You may have someone you can have a sister or brother problem and all of a sudden you need to be able to help them. You can bring your support, you can be even more, but you must be able to take care of yourself.
For Arnold, he may stay in his failed marriage, but he knows what he's going to get. He can try something with Gloria and she can take him on this incredible adventure and bring it even further than it has ever been.
That's right, and I think it happens to people all the time. Even people who are successful at something, you get used to doing the same thing. And it's like a singer, they sing a certain repertoire and then they try to do something else, no one likes it. Maybe they like it and say, "Well, I'm going back to what everyone likes." And sometimes they're miserable at doing that.
I mean, people do not change, but they can grow. You can grow. I do not believe those movies that say, "Well, I started like this and now I'm different." You are not a different person. You are born in a certain way, then you grow up and you can make changes in your life.
Do you have a secure space as an artist, as something you always feel comfortable with? Some type of role?
No, I feel good when I'm in a human situation, do you know what I mean? When I do things that really look like "Transformers," it almost looks like a quick sketch. It's so high and it's going for a bit, but I do not live there all the time.
If I have time to think of something and that's an important role, like 'The Night Of', I had four months left to prepare and talked to all kinds of people. 39; lawyers. I've even found a lawyer who is a really star advocate in Brooklyn – Kenny Montgomery, his name is. He is a very handsome boy, he looks like an Idris Elba, he is a star. But he has accompanied me throughout the process so succinctly that I realized what it costs him to be good and that my character, is the lawyer that he could be sure he had confidence in himself.
Then I had other lawyers who were closer to the character. But Kenny, he's really, really, really, because it's only eloquent and that he's explained why my character did not want to go to court, do you see what I mean? Because you hold someone's life in your hands.
It is delicate.
Little by little, I composed this character, but it was very well written. And I connected with Rice [Ahmed]we had a very good relationship. I lost myself finally doing it. That's good, when you have this experience.
It is interesting that you talk about this human element. You feel more comfortable being human. With Arnold, it's almost a genre reversal because in movies, it's typical to see a woman have all the baggage – she can not escape from her situation – but it was that person.
Well, let's face it, in many relationships, like weddings, very often, it's the man who shot himself in the foot, you know what I mean? It's nice to see both, I think. I think it's nice to see different types of things represented in the movies. Because if you do not see it, then you think that there are movies that give you the answers. And there are movies like some of Spike [Lee’s] movies for example, or a film like this, which asks the question. This raises questions because in the end you must enjoy the moments of your life.
I think it's nice to see different types of things represented because we are all going to live that. You are going to have young relationships and young loves, better friends, and later you say, "I exchanged for this person," and some people you never meet. Some people with whom you stay friends, because you have something essential. some of these friends.
There is a lot of love in "Gloria Bell" too. I enjoyed the fact that I'm a teacher and that I teach at those 22 and 25 years old and that they often think that once you're 30, you're a dinosaur and that once you are 40, you are old. And I'm like, stop, there's a whole world there. Stop putting age groups in boxes.
I think what is happening is that as technology accelerates, everyone thinks they are inventing something new. They do not invent anything new. All of these things have existed through history.
Understanding what happened before will also tell you what will happen in the future. I come from a world where I like working with people older and younger than me because sometimes the more we know, the more we know what we do not know. And you say OK, I still have a lot to learn.
When you do things, it 's like a great trumpet player who passes something to someone else. Or a great singer. Someone can be great and be between 75 and 80 years old. You have a lot to learn from these people. They supported their life. It's not that they should be dominant and you should not have a closed mind, but I think you lose a lot when you do not see it.
People used to make big learnings when they were sculptors, as for 15 years. So you were the sculptor and you had a 15-year-old boy who had been working for you for about 15 years. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's good when the ball is passed back and forth.
I must tell you now that I am an old actor and that there may be some things that I would not do the same way. But I think that overall, I'm a better actor now. Yes, I really think that I improved as an actor.
I think if you talk to a lot of actors, there are things that I did when I was young and of which I am really proud. Sometimes I worked too much, I showed too much or this and that. I mean, an athlete can not do that unfortunately. At the moment they know too much, their bodies let them down. It's the great thing to be in the creative field.
When you were 20 years old, was that your vision of the world, or was it something you just grasped over time?
I have always been interested in history, in what was happening before me, in the evolution of music and cinema. I never thought I had the answers. I felt that I had an impulse and that I needed to express myself. And I have never known anyone in the movies. That's only when I went to the theater. I had seen movies, I loved the movies, but once I saw some plays, I saw, believe it or not, Ben Vereen in 'Jesus' Christ Superstar "and" Pippin ". And there was something about him, because it was not that far from me. And he just hit me or something like that and I was like, wow! Maybe I could. . . maybe not dancing as well as him or something like that, or singing as well, but he was so inviting in what he did. And then I also saw straight pieces without music. And that opened my brain somehow. I mean, I've always loved music, I loved dancing.
And you can certainly dance.
Yes, I danced. I have studied dance, I have danced in many things. When I was a kid, I did all those disco dances. Salsa is hard. It's hard, but I like the movement because I think the movement is telling, as the Nicolas brothersDo you know who these guys were?
They were in their thirties, they danced with Fred Astaire, these two black brothers. They just made a documentary about it. They are incredible.
I love flamenco, I love all types of dance, because especially when we watch people dance and that's not a choreography and that they are not dancers, we can see their personality. I just think that there is something liberating in the movement. I use it in my work.
Dude, if I showed you my dance steps, you'd say, "His personality is horrible."
But even if you're not the best dancer, this shows that someone can do a little thing with his finger and you're like, wow, it's rather interesting. I did this dance in this Italian film "Mia Madre" with this very heavy woman. She was a good dancer. It was like an Arab thing. There was no team, we just danced and we did this interpretative dance really crazy with each other. It was fun, but we had to do it again and again and I thought, "Wow, once, you're fine."
When I did "Do The Right Thing," when I did "Jungle Fever," when I did "Barton Fink," I had that great hairstyle. I told Larry Cherry, the guy who cuts my hair in "Do The Right Thing," I said, "Larry, keep the height up and give me the fade. "
The curly top.
He invented that. It was with the big fade and I had all these curls and it was like a big cloud of mushroom. And we watched Kenny Walker play for the Knicks. I used the way I walked in this movie, I based it on Kenny Walker. Because Kenny Walker had this ride, he walked as he bounced back. They called him Sky Walker.
Like he was walking on his toes.
When I did it on the set, Spike was laughing, "Oh, like Kenny Walker!" Because I thought it was great, it would be interesting to see this guy because he looked so open, Kenny Walker. He was not defensive in his walk and I tried such things. Sometimes you have to do it and then you have to bring it back a bit because it may be too much.
It was great to see Spike win the Oscar this year.
Very very happy. I was very happy.
"Do The Right Thing" and your role in the film have learned about racism and micro-aggression, as well as the difference between communities and how they work.
You know, when Spike asked me to do the movie that, as I said, I grew up in the opposite direction. He said, "Well, who do you want to play?" And I said, "I want to play the racist, because that's what the movie is about," and I said, "It's important that this character is human and that you see him frustrated and limited in some ways, but it's important that you see that he's a real guy. "
Yes, and he has his own problems outside of that.
He has his own problems.
He worries about what his friends say
Yes, he does not want to work in a pizzeria. I worked in a pizzeria and the guys were miserable. I've worked with a few guys and I was like, wow it's interesting. Once we started making the film, I started bringing it with Ernest [Dickerson, the cinematographer] more things that were not even in the script. Many of us did this and it was difficult at first with everyone. But once we all got to know each other, I felt that it was real, that it was in the world and that we were going to do it. It was an exciting movie to do. Except for the end, the end was a little disturbing.
It was a difficult reality test.
Some people, some people have become tense. But I think if you do not do that and you always do antics, you always say, "Well, here's the nice white guy." It's like, yeah, some of these people are, but maybe some of these people are not.
It is the history of our country. It's the history of our country for 400 years. Unless you grow up with people and interact, you need to know people as people. And then you say, "OK, it's a big variety, I can never group a person in that color, religion, whatever." But if you do not have it, then everything is theoretical. And people come back to their fears of each other.
All these different groups of people in the movie and they all had their faults.
Spike, he was attacked for this movie. Many people do not realize that he took a lot of it. I was worried, I thought wow, will people really get excited when they see the movie? And then it was just the opposite. People were happy to see him.
This has probably prompted American companies to watch Hollywood.
Well, they opened it for a while, then John Singleton and the Hughes Brothers. . . but then it did not continue. And Spike, because he wanted to push the envelope, I found myself – and I listen, we are really good friends – but I have defended it many times. Because I know him as a human being in his own right. Strengths, weaknesses, I know what kind of person he is.
Who was the best ball player? You or Spike?
Well, he plays baseball. He does not play basketball. We used to play basketball all night with a few of us. Robin Harris, who passed away.
I love Robin Harris, he was hilarious.
He was hilarious. He would have had a huge career. He was a good player. Was a good athlete too. Good athlete. It was a couple of guys who could play ball.
In 2019, does Pino meet a black girl from the neighborhood and become an activist of Black Lives Matter? Or is Pino a supporter of Trump?
It's more interesting.
Make Brooklyn awesome again?
Make Brooklyn awesome again. Sensational. You know, I do not know about it. It's really interesting. I could see him going back and forth.
As you said, people are growing up. People change.
He could. In addition, the difference between Queens and Brooklyn. He lives in Brooklyn, right? Queens is different. The queens in which I grew up, many people wanted to go to town and others only wanted to go to Long Island. They would never go to town. Because they would be like, "Wow, the city is dangerous." It was dangerous but it was also exciting.
I am currently writing something that has a lot of these themes and that Spike will be the executive producer, if I ever get the money to do it, which deals with some of these things.
It looks awesome. "Gloria Bell" is currently in theaters. Tell everyone why they should go see him.
It is a film that celebrates the appreciation of the moment. You must appreciate what you have and it celebrates life and the fact that the present moment is to be adopted and not to live in the future or in the past. You are never too old to try.