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John Turturro shows Stephen Colbert his dance moves, including the Jesus

John Turturro, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

John Turturro co-stars with Julianne Moore in the new late-life sort-of romance Gloria Bell, where their divorcées overcome their post-breakup wariness with some impressively intimate disco dance moves. As Colbert noted with the help of a handy montage, we’ve been watching the prolific, Emmy-winning actor-writer-director dance on-screen for a long time, from Barton Fink’s intensely gawky USO moves, to the excitable Pete’s country hambone in O Brother Where Art Thou?, to some more relaxed and graceful swaying in films that you may not remember quite as well (Fading Gigolo, Mia Madre). He’s no Sam Rockwell or Christopher Walken, whose every move and movie threatens to bust out into an impromptu dance number, but Turturro—who cites Etta James “In The Basement” as his first, long-ago hip-shaking inspiration—gets by just fine.

Naturally, Colbert’s montage ended with the Jesus. Turturro told Colbert that the slo-mo post-strike bowling alley shuffle of his The Big Lebowski scene-stealer was cribbed liberally from Muhammad Ali’s springing strut after knocking a fool out. He also gamely accepted Colbert’s challenge to teach the Late Show host how the Jesus was done, with the pair using Colbert’s shiny studio floor to reenact every cocky, loose-limbed motion, from releasing the ball, to the backwards, side-to-side sway, to the concluding foot grab, complete with finger-point to Liam. As ever kids, nobody fucks with the Jesus.


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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.