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Big Little Lies isn’t the only HBO limited series that has left viewers clamoring for more. Ever since The Night Of premiered on the pay cabler last July, questions have continued about whether the legal drama will return for a second season.
They’re not alone.
“He’s a wonderful a character,” star John Turturro tells The Hollywood Reporter. “By the end of it, I didn’t feel like I was bored with it at all, I was just like, ‘Wow.’ I could have kept going.”
Thankfully the actor, who earned an Emmy nomination for best actor in a limited series or a movie for his portrayal of eccentric lawyer John Stone, is optimistic about the future of the series. “We’ve been talking,” he says. “I would be very interested because I felt that character offered something really rich. I’m hoping that that will come to fruition.”
Turturro also spoke with THR about the challenges of the role, acting opposite a cat and the more unusual reactions he received to his character’s skin condition.
Looking at the part itself, what was the biggest challenge for you?
The other parts were so well-written and this was such a complex, and there are so many obstacles that the guy has. I think that’s really bold for an actor, I think they wrote a character who is very, very, very capable but obviously didn’t want to hold someone’s life in their hands. And then he had his own personal problems, physical problems, yet he was more than capable of being a very, very good lawyer. It just reminded me of lots of people in this profession who have tremendous ability, and then sometimes don’t have the stomach for it or the constitution for it, and there’s many people that are successful because they know how to play the game. Then there are other people who actually can be brilliant at something and aren’t on the playing field. I just think there’s something really interesting about that and how someone can connect with someone intrinsically and say, ‘Oh man, I see something in this person.’ I thought it was a very, very rich character and I had a lot of time to think about it, which is always a big blessing.
What stood out to you as the biggest misconception about this character?
Obviously because someone can be designated as a loser or as a night crawler and actually they’re tremendously competent. Another thing I thought was interesting is there are all these people who seem cynical on the outside and say all these things and down deep, they’re still idealistic, they still have a portion of themselves that hasn’t gotten, they’re not bitter and they’re not … When people just become, “been there, done that.” I can’t think of the word …
Jaded. That’s exactly what I was thinking. He appears jaded but he actually isn’t and I think people, all of us put on faces in life and armor to protect ourselves or to get through the day. I thought it was really interesting to see that in certain characters and certainly within John Stone, and I really loved playing the character. It was just endlessly fascinating and it was also endlessly challenging. (Laughs.)
One challenge had to be acting opposite a cat. Can you talk about that?
Actually, I’m allergic to cats so I can’t really be there for a long time. I actually even did some second unit directing the cat to help out. The cat follows the trail of food but when you’re an animal, especially a cat, doesn’t necessarily do what you want it to do. It’s kind of a great lesson because they’re very alive to what’s going on around them and they do what they want and you have to deal with that. He was, Bam Bam, was the cat’s name, was excellent. It was a big deal to get him to do certain things like opening the door or roll over or come on the bed. The trick is you have to work really hard with him. Between the cat, the eczema, the prison stuff — it was a lot of obstacles and that’s what you look for as an actor for a role, that’s what an actor wants. There’s things to play, and to overcome, and I think I had good chemistry with a lot of the people I worked with, Riz [Ahmed] and Bill [Camp] and Glenne [Headly] and Jeannie [Berlin] and J.D. [Williams]. There’s a lot of people who are in like one or two scenes with me and it was great, we just kind of met and he’s almost like lawyer/detective because he’s an investigator type of guy. That was a lot of fun.
Talking about the eczema, have you had any particularly hilarious or uncomfortable interactions with fans who’ve watched the show?
Oh yeah, for sure. I used to walk around on the street and sometimes I had it on my face and people look at you and look away, whatever. It was interesting just having to deal with that and I think it really made me compassionate to the people — they have this new pill which is very, very expensive — what people go through with that. My makeup man, Steven Kelly, and I, we had a whole … I would do a vocal warmup and then I would help him with getting in all kinds of positions because it was on my feet, I was on my feet most of the day but he did an amazing job. And then taking it off at night was a big deal too. It’s a real collaboration. But yes, it was funny the looks you get with the plastic and stuff like that, but that’s what people do. It also steams a lot of things off, you have to be careful with it. It was a constant problem for me because I was outside in the freezing cold with bare feet. I only could last so long. It changes the way you do everything and I think also your footwear does. If a woman has high heels, it’s very different than sneakers and this is like sandals and eczema. It was a lot of fun putting to the costume together and the coat — he’s almost like a walking drug store with all the things in his coat. He’s a wonderful a character. By the end of it, I didn’t feel like I was bored with it at all, I was just like, “Wow.” I could have kept going.
There had been some talk about a potential second season, what’s the latest on that?
We’ve been talking. So we’ll see. I would be very interested because I felt that character offered something really rich. I’m hoping that that will come to fruition.
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