There’s Not Going to Be A ‘Lebowski’ Sequel, And That’s Okay

It’s been a good week for the Coen Brothers. Although their new folk-revival-focused film Inside Llewyn Davis didn’t take the top prize at Cannes, it did win the Joel and Ethan Coen the Grand Prix, the festival’s runner-up (not their first time taking home silverware at the Cannes either). And with all the press they’re inevitably getting about this new film and the award, reporters, like one from the Toronto Star, are asking the question that’s on a lot of fans’ minds, “Will there ever be a Lebowski sequel?”

In short, the answer is no. There had long been rumors about a sequel to the Coens’ beloved stoner-caper The Big Lebowski, their biggest film, which has inspired bathrobe-wearing would-be Zen slackers around the world to come together, bowl and quaff White Russians at annual Lebowskifests. The rumored sequel would focus on an auxiliary character, John Turturro’s Jesus Quintana, the slimy rival bowler who delivers the iconic line, “Nobody fucks with the Jesus.” Turturro has been big on this idea of a sequel and even pitched it to the brothers, but they’re just not down with it right now.

“[Turturro] even has the story worked out, which he’s pitched to us a few times, but I can’t really remember it,” Ethan Coen told the Star. “No, I don’t see it in our future.” Joel Coen added that he “doesn’t like sequels.”

And you know what? That’s fine. In fact, it’s probably better this way. The Coens have gone on to do even better films, most notably Fargo and No Country For Old Men, and worked in a variety of styles and genres. The film’s star, Jeff Bridges, may be The Dude forever ad infinitum, but he’s also gone on to have some other acclaimed starting roles, including his turn as a grizzled singer in the widely praised Crazy Heart.

Lebowski is still a delight, a movie worth seeing over and over, a bit of cinematic comfort food for fans that know every line by heart. And like any good film, there’s something new to be discovered with every viewing. But it’s run its course. It’s in a good place in movie history. There’s a special place for it, but most of the people involved have gone on to bigger and better things. It just wouldn’t be the same. And honestly, could a character like the Jesus sustain a full-length film and keep it interesting? Results are a little hazy.

And as much as it would be fun to see Turturro (also the star of the Coens’ Cannes favorite Barton Fink, which many consider the brothers’ best work) work with the directors again, and rumors of a Barton Fink sequel have also made the rounds, it doesn’t have to be in the form of a Lebowski sequel, or a sequel at all. It would be really cool if they worked together again. Just… not as a Lebowski sequel.

And, if you don’t agree, that’s fine, because you know what? That’s just your opinion, man.  

John Goodman On Being a Cinematic Loudmouth

For nine years, John Goodman appeared to millions of Americans as Dan Conner, Roseanne Barr’s beleaguered husband on the sitcom Roseanne. It is a testament to the breadth and believability of his post-Roseanne roles that nearly a decade of constant exposure hasn’t pinned the actor to that one character specimen. Goodman has brought his heft and range to iconic roles, such as the overbearing Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, the Polyphemus stand-in “Big Dan” Teague in O Brother, Where Are Thou?, and the curmudgeonly studio head with a heart of fool’s gold in The Artist. In Robert Zemickis’ Flight, one of the three movies Goodman stars in this season, the actor plays Harling Mays, a man whose personality, like that of many of Goodman’s characters, is expansive to the point of offensive and, although perhaps not good, always loveable. We asked Mr. Goodman to describe the process of becoming Mr. Mays.

My character is an oaf. He has no sense of his surroundings. He’s pretty much wrapped up in his own head, so he just stumbles around. I picture him banging off the walls of the corridor wherever he is. He’s like a medicated bear on both stimulants and tranquilizers. In that shot you’ve got there, he’s listening to the Rolling Stones. “Sympathy for the Devil,” I think. He’s a contemporary guy really hung up on the early ’70s, still living in that era, like a character out of Key West who likes to fancy himself a good ol’ Southern boy. Maybe he read too much Hunter S. Thompson. Or maybe he listens to too much Jimmy Buffet. He’s just a Parrothead–type of guy. In fact, he’s a pretty bad guy. He thinks he’s helping but he’s not. He’s what they call an enabler. He provides Denzel’s character with drugs, and he’ll be your friend until the money runs out.

Whether he is likeable, I don’t care. That’s not up to me to judge. That’s up to the audience. I just try to do what’s on the page and flesh it out with some details. I’m not trying to be mysterious, I just don’t understand a lot of what I do. I do, however, think it is a mistake to say that I bring a lot of my own quirks to the character. The hair, the outfit, the mannerisms—most of it is in the script. I just take whatever details the script provides and then try to go about it with my own observations of why. It’s also a mistake to say that I’m drawn to these types of characters. It just depends on the script. Now, it’s true: I’ve been cast as this type of character often. I did some quiet stuff on Roseanne, but recently I guess I’m just a loudmouth all the time.

Jeff Bridges Talks ‘True Grit’ & the Future of ‘Lebowski’

Already riding high from an Oscar win earlier this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff Bridges’ stock dramatically spike again in December when both Tron Legacy (25/12) and the Coen Brothers’ True Grit (17/12) hit theaters. Call it the “geeks & geezers” double bill. The latter is, of course, a remake of the classic 1969 John Wayne vehicle, and Bridges told MTV News that he has high expectations. “I hope it’s going to be a great Western. You’ve got the Coen brothers — master filmmakers — doing a Western for the first time…to be a part of that was great.” Bridges also opened up about the possibility of a sequel to his first and still much-beloved collaboration with the Coens, The Big Lebowski.

Many of that film’s legions of super fans will doubtless be crestfallen to hear the news: “We talked about it occasionally, but no plans man, no plans,” Bridges said. “No, no, no, I don’t think it’s gonna happen.” I, for one, am heartened. I don’t think the peculiar alchemy of that film is something that can be repeated. A follow up would almost certainly compare unfavorably, and perhaps even retroactively discolor the first. Some films are meant to exist in and unto themselves. You need only watch one of the Psycho sequels to know that this is true.

Links: The Dude Does Shakespeare; David Bowie Replies to Fan Mail

● “Was it I, sir, who urinated on your rug?” The Big Lebowski meets Shakespeare in the most excellent adaptation, Two Gentleman of Lebowski [Adam Bertocci] ● Teen idols become the cast of Jersey Shore. (See Snooki Swift, at left.) If you recognize Justin Bieber and are over the age of 18, it’s time to consider doing something more meaningful with your life. [ONTD] ● In the vein of the tumblr My Parents Were Awesome, comes Keggers of Yore about, well, keggers of yore. Drinking too much beer looks better in sepia. [Keggers of Yore]

● Animals: just like us! Female toads inflate to avoid sex [BBC] ● Back in 1967, David Bowie got his first American fan letter and was sweet enough to write back. [Fascinating Letters] ● That crazy underwater hotel that seemed like it could never happen? It’s not happening. [Hotel Chatter]