Nicholas Turturro, Star of Call Her King on BET+ Interview

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<p style="font-weight: 400;">In an acting career spanning more than 30 years, Nicholas Turturro has left his mark on movies, TV shows and late night talk show appearances. This July 6 he can be seen in the BET+ Original Movie, Call Her King. Popgeeks got a chance to sit down with Turturro, to learn just how the actor uses his natural comedic sensibilities in every project to make the most of his screen time.</p>
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<p style="font-weight: 400;">Adam Pope: Your acting career has encompassed a wide range of genres: drama, comedy, to horror, even animation. Did you begin your professional career with kind of a specific path in mind, with an actor whose career you wanted to emulate? Or did you always feel you could just play whatever role came your way?</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Nick Turturro: Actually, when I first started out as a kid, I was a musical theater guy. I was in Guys and Dolls in high school. And I played Nathan Detroit. And I used to sing before that, as a young kid I used to listen to Frank Sinatra records. And I taught myself how to sing. So everybody in my family said, “Oh, he’s a singer.” So I studied a little bit and I sang in a choir. And my brother John directed me when I was a kid in Oliver and I played the Artful Dodger.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">So I didn’t really have a direction, a real path, but I liked to perform. I always knew, even when I got started in drama, that I had a good comedic sense and kind of knew that I had that in a way. But I never really developed it, I wasn’t looking to be a comedian, but I kind of knew I had some of that natural timing. So it was never like, “Oh, I want to be just this or just that.” I wanted to try everything, I guess. When I think about it, you’re right. I’ve kind of played all kinds of stuff. From crazy guys, to tough guys to funny, goofy dudes.</p>
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<p style="font-weight: 400;">Adam Pope: So in that vein, it does feel like you always bring much more to your roles than a simple basic character description. How do you approach taking a character like your nervous defense lawyer in Call Her King and make it your own? Is it always just a little bit of you in there? Or do you like to come up with specific quirks?</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Nick Turturro: I think it’s a combination, I think you kind of hit it on the head. It’s a little bit of me and then it’s a little bit of the character. So it’s like, there’s always a part of you in whatever you do, so I never abandon that. And then within that, with using yourself, you become whoever that guy is, and try to make a lot out of, not nothing, but make more than is there.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">That’s true for me even on NYPD Blue. I was a young guy, and one of the showrunners told me, “I told them to hire you because you made a lot out of nothing.” I did that on The Longest Yard. That that was nothing on paper and then Adam Sandler kept adding stuff for me. From a small part, it became a really memorable role. Even with NYPD Blue and a lot of other roles that are not huge, I’ve made an impact. And so I think that when I look back on my career, I probably am most proud of that. Most proud of that I’ve always done that, whether it’s one scene or three scenes or four scenes. Even in Black Klansman, people were like, “You were really good in just a couple of scenes”, when I show up at the end of the movie. Then I go from that to something comedic or whatever.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Adam Pope: Speaking of Spike Lee, you’ve done quite a few films with him and then with NYPD Blue and Blue Bloods, you’re always being cast as a cop…</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Nick Turturro: It seems that way, I played a certain amount of cops and now I’m getting to be known as a guy who could come in and be comedic, like the comic relief. When I read this script [Call Her King] I said I thought it was an okay script and I thought when I read it, “Oh, this guy, he could be the comic relief.” That’s what I saw. I may not always be right for what they want, but I think that within a drama, he was just somebody that could be…not “funny haha”, but be funny in a way.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">The differences I think when you’re a good actor, you can feel grounded and you can be even more comedic, you know? Because some comedians never really become good actors. Some do, some make that transition like Adam [Sandler], but there are some guys that they’ve never really crossed over into becoming good comedic actors, as well as comedians. Because it’s two different things. When you can act, and you’re funny, you know? Take somebody like Joe Pesci. I mean, Joe Pesci is a really, really good actor. And he’s really, really funny. I have played more goofy guys than him, but he’s somebody that is a good actor, and very funny.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">People have said, “Wow, you can act and you’re funny.” Like, when I was on NYPD Blue. Those guys didn’t know. And I think if they got to know me, maybe they could have let me be. I played the straight guy on that show. Gordon Clapp was given all the funny lines, because he played a guy that stuttered and all this stuff. I thought that they could have utilized me more. But I played it like Bud Abbott and he was Costello. So I was the straight guy. But then when I was on David Letterman, everybody was like, “Oh, boy, we didn’t even know you were funny.” And I was like, “Yeah, I mean, I knew it.” But you still gotta be given a chance to show what you could do.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">In Blue Bloods, I was older. Unfortunately I didn’t get to do more and I would have liked to, but they went in a different direction. But that character, why it was such a good character, I think, was that he had been around the block as a cop, and I’ve played a lot of cops. For whatever reason they came up to me early on, they said, “You know, we’re not writing it funny. But it’s coming out that way.” And if you’re smart enough to understand that, you go, “Wow, I got gold here. I got somebody here that I didn’t even write it funny and he’s making it funny.” Not that I was making it a joke. But out of the situations, comes comedic stuff, even with cops.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">I think there was one producer, I don’t think he ever understood what I was doing. Because there was another producer that said, “They don’t even get how good you are or what you doing, you know?” And I said, “Yeah, it’s their loss because they have nobody remotely funny.” Because they just don’t have those kinds of people there seeing where you could take the material. I was eating pizza, and it was funny. I was eating a hot dog and I made a whole thing with the guy. I really enjoyed doing that. You’re a police officer, you’re a cop, but there’s a lot of funny cops. They’re not all so serious, it’s got to be so complex, because they’re not all like that. And that cop, Renzulli was actually very funny in a very real way.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Adam Pope: I have to imagine that with The Longest Yard, if you consider that a big breakout comedically, that has to have extended your career in so many ways. If people only see you play a dramatic character over and over again, that kind of gets old. Do you feel like that really allowed you to work more than maybe you would have if you were just doing straight drama?</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Nick Turturro: Yeah, I think it did. I think it did to a certain degree and I would have liked it to have been more. Because I had two comedy pilots, one with the WB and one with CBS. It was my own show that after NYPD Blue I developed with them and then missed getting them on the air by a hair, a few times. I thought that would have really blown me up comedically. So the world never got to see that, they never got to see my own show. They never get to see my pilots. Even to this day, we’ve been developing something new, me and my son.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">I was a big TV guy when I was a little kid and you know, I love The Honeymooners and The Odd Couple, I think I have good taste in the kind of comedies that I like. All In The Family, I watched. Great, great things. I’ve been influenced by great people, my brother, by great movies, all these things that I’ve watched, that I went to school on, you know? I’ve learned. I’m a student and a fan. And I’ve never lost that. So, I love all that stuff.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">I think it has definitely influenced me, the things that I’ve been inspired by. Not that I imitated anybody, but I get inspired by all these things. And that’s what kind of drove me to wanting to perform, you know what I mean? When I’ve seen other people, great people at work, but I’ve been like, “Wow, he’s good.” It gets you pumped up, it gets you saying like, “I gotta bring it now” and I have. And I know that I could hold my own with anybody. I know that if I go toe to toe with great people that I could bring it.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">I remember years ago, I had an audition with Billy Crystal. And he brought me back and I think on some level he was like, “What? You’re funny.” And he’s like, “Can you improvise?” But at the same time, I felt like, maybe he doesn’t want somebody here funnier than him. And I’m not trying to outdo you. I’m just, I’m just doing me. I’m just being me. If that makes sense.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">I think in the industry, I haven’t been used enough. You get in some kind of clubs, like I’ve never worked with the Judd Apatow. I’ve never worked with a lot of these great comedic groups, that I feel like I could easily jump in and do anything. I watch this guy, Danny McBride and his comedy is insane and I love it. Even though he’s like a hillbilly, I feel like my sensibility is strong, and I know what I like, and I know what I think is funny.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">There’s another movie coming out, a high school drama, but they needed somebody comedic, and I did a really comedic role. Unfortunately, I wish the movie was more funny. Because I was trying to tell these kids, “It needs to be funnier, not violent.” But they didn’t want to listen.</p>
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<p style="font-weight: 400;">Adam Pope: Returning to Call Her King. It’s being promoted as “Die Hard in a courtroom”, that’s the tagline they’re using. But do you think it has more to offer audiences than just action and drama in a locked down setting?</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Nick Turturro: I think it does. It’s well-executed so that it’s more than just “Die Hard”. I think there’s some good performances in there, some really good actors</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">on the screen. So I hope they look at it as more than just, “Die Hard in a courtroom.” I liked the filmmaker [Wes Miller]. He’s another guy that it seems like he makes a lot out of you know, not nothing, but he makes a full meal out of the material. So I dug working with him. The material was okay, but I think we definitely made it a lot better. So I mean, it seems like everybody is excited about it. So it’s good that you could do something good in something that’s being well received. Because a lot of times you do something good and then people don’t really you know, and you’re like, “Ah, ****. I just did as much as I could do, but the whole movie was a disappointment or something.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Adam Pope: It’s been the theme of our interview here that you always do a little bit more and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that you have a very awesome way of killing somebody in this movie. It has a setup and it pays off and it’s hilarious.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Nick Turturro: No, I don’t want to give it away, but the guy I was working with, he does action movies. I call him “Johnny Steaks”, because all he does is eat steak, which is true. He’s on some kind of steak diet.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">That’s thing though. You got to make something out of what you’ve got. I just did a sitcom with Jon Cryer It’s not going to air until the Fall, and they might bring me back. I had one big scene. But you know, this guy Mike O’Malley, the showrunner he loved it, because he was like “You made a big impact”, and I was like, a nervous wreck because it was live and I haven’t done that in a while. I did do two sitcoms years ago that I was telling you about and I thrive off that, but I’m older now. So I was a little frantic. And you know, I’m so ADD and my memory is not as sharp, but I have that ability to do that kind of stuff in the sitcom world. It was definitely a high doing that in front of an audience. I got off on doing it. And a lot of ways more than just a drama.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Nicholas Turturro can be seen July 6 in Call Her King, a BET+ Original Movie.</p>

 
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Nicholas Turturro is really enthusiastic about his latest movie, "Call Her King." He believes it goes beyond the typical action and drama in a courtroom setting. He thinks the performances and the director's touch make it a standout film. It's great to see an actor who's genuinely excited about their work and feels proud of the effort they've put into it.
 
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The plot makes me wish its a show instead of a movie. There is so much potential if this is a TV pilot instead.
 
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it's intriguing to hear Nicholas Turturro's perspective on the connection between being a good actor and being able to bring humor to a role. He acknowledges that not all comedians can successfully transition into becoming good comedic actors, but when someone possesses both acting skills and comedic talent, the results can be exceptional. I agree that actors like Joe Pesci and Nicholas himself can bring depth to their characters while delivering humor in a genuine way.
 

Seb

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So, Nicholas Turturro says he puts a little bit of himself into every character he plays. Like, he doesn't want to lose his own flavor, you know? He takes whatever's written on the page and adds his own spice to it. That's why people remember him, even in smaller roles. He's got that special something that makes him stand out.
 
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This film promises to be a worthwhile project. I'm intrigued by Nicholas Turturro's enthusiasm for collaborating with Wes Miller, the filmmaker. In addition, the idea of a locked down courtroom atmosphere with action and drama sounds intense. I'm curious how they managed to tell such a distinct and fascinating story within that structure. It's definitely sparked my interest, and I'm looking forward to seeing what surprises the program has in store for me.
 
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This film is more than just an action film; it promotes critical thinking. The film challenges us to reconsider our conceptions of justice and confront the terrible realities of injustice suffered by black people. Naturi Turton's portrayal of Jaeda King is enthralling, and her street-fighting talents provide an added depth of intrigue. Despite a few outlandish parts, the film is an intriguing and rewarding viewing for those who want a mix of action and social critique.
 
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"Call Her King" had me set from beginning to end, seamlessly blending action and suspense to produce a wonderful viewing experience. I was kept on the edge of my seat by the unexpected twists and turns, and the climax left me wanting more. While some may consider some story developments to be a cop-out, I found them to be intriguing and set the stage for potential future installments. Don't forget to watch the scene after the credits!
 
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