John Turturro

  1. Pete Petrrella, Raging Bull, 1980.  Auditioned with his pal Michael Badalucco. “We got these ’50s haircuts  and  clothes.  [Director Martin] Scorsese is looking at us like – who are these guys?  But they were our heroes.  So we were in there, acting our hearts out and De Niro is smiling.  I mean, you could see we’d touched him in some way.”  Six months later, they were hired. As extras.  Almost.  (They later co-starred in Spike Lee films and Turturro’s directing debut, Mac – winner of ther Camera d’Or for Best First Film at Cannes, 1992.
  2. Nicolas Cage, Moonstruck, 1987.    Canadian director Norman Jewison’s first choice was rejected by Cher. “If you’re dark, you’re a bad guy. That’s it. I turned down a million bad guy things.”
  3. Richard Edson, Do The Right Thing, 1989.     “Spike Lee gave me the choice of the brothers.  Vito was  the nice guy,  Pino was full of hate and racism.” He voted  Pino.  John and his true sibling, Nicholas, played the brothers Flatbush in Spike’s next film, Mo’ Better Blues, 1990.
  4. Joe Mantegna, The Godfather: Part III, 1991.
  5. Sean Penn, Carlito’s Way, 1994.     Also up for it: Turturro and the Aussie De Niro, Anthony LaPaglia.
  6. Paul Sorvino, Nixon, 1995.     He didn’t have Henry ednrfy HKissinger’s build – Sorvino did. Besides Turturro was waiting for his Italian film to be greenlit.
  7. Harvey Keitel, Clockers, 1995.    Spike Lee wanted Turturro as the cop, Rocco Klein  (Robert De  Niro’s when Martin Scorsese was due to direct; they split for Casino)  The studio did not want John.  Scorsese, now producing only,  suggested  Keitel  – and John replaced Michael  Imperioli as Larry Mazilla.
  8. Wesley Snipes, To Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar,  1995.     “As a girl, he’s just not happening,” said scenarist Douglas Carter Beane. He watched all the actor s’ drag tests in  a room  full of New York drag queens.  “Wesley’s asking for tips from Girlina and Lady Bunny…  What have I done to America’s #1 action hero?”
  9. Alan Rickman, Michael Collins, 1995.  Turturro (and Tom Cruise) wisely avoided being caught up in the very Irish story of rebel Collins and the battles to form the Irish Free State; Cruise   as the assassin of the very Irish hdero, Collin – and the  Italian-American Turturro as Éamon de Valera, thrice Taoiseach and, ultimately, third president of the Irish Free State.
  10. Vincent D’Onofrio, Men In Black, 1996.     Other gigs got in the way for Turturro and Bruce Campbell when offered the hill-billy with an alien uncomfortably inside him – like Orson Welles in a suit of armour,  suggested critic Roger Ebert. D’Onofrio based Edgar on John Huston-George C Scott’s voices, Peter Sellers’ mopvementds as Dr Strangelove and… bugs.

  11. Stephen Baldwin, Crimetime, 1997.     A decreased budget dented much of Dutch film-maker George Sluizer’s original line-up. “But once I’ve chosen the best people I can get for the money available, I stand  behind  every choice.”
  12. Alfred Molina, Boogie Nights, 1997.  Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s exploration of the 70s porno biz as a family unit (Burt Reynolds’ film-maker and Julianne Moore’s porno star being “the parents”) neededa drug dealer called Rahad Jackson.   Penn and John Turturrto passed.  Molina, being British, could tackle anything!
  13. Frank Patto,, Ocean’s Eleven, 2001.     Steven Soderbergh offered him the rather unimportant Lockbox Carrier in the re-make of the 1960 Frank Sinatra caper. John was later asked  to play  Sinatra in…
  14. Dennis Hopper, The Night We Called It A  Day, 2002.     Based on Ole Blue Eyes’ 1974 Australian  tour getting off to a bad start as he spat on a woman journo and called her breed, hookers. The blockhead was immediately blockaded – no room service, no phone, no water – by the union led by future Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
  15. Kern Sereyvuth, City of Ghosts,  2002.     Matt Dillon tries directing – and succeeds – in Cambodia.
  16. Adrien Brody, Manolete, 2007.   Back in 1998, it was Turturro for auteur Menno Mayjes’ bio of the ultimate matador: Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez aka Manolete.
  17. Mark Ryan,  Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen, 2008.     John offered to voice Jetfire – and director Michael Bay gave him Agent Simmons. Yorkshifre’s Ryan was the real hero of the franchise. As well as improivising various characters, he  was the stand-in for all tyhe CGI Transformers, giving the other actors something to react to… or against.
  18. Tony Shalhoub,  Pain & Gain, 2012.  For thebodybuilding-cum-kidnapping actioner thatflash-bang director Michael Bay had been trying to make for a dozen years (Transformerskept getting in the way), Mark Wahlberg suggested Albert Brooks as Kershaw but he could not be contacted (it says here). .John Turturro took over – only to hit scheduling problems. Enter: TV’s Monk!


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  18