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CANNES WATCH: John Turturro talks onset bad behavior

John Turturro, Margherita Buy and director Nanni Moretti pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Mia Madre (My Mother), at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

CANNES, France (AP) — John Turturro drew on three decades of experience in the movie business for his role as a disruptive, egomaniacal actor in Nanni Moretti’s Cannes entry “My Mother.” But he won’t name names.

“I’ve seen behavior way more extreme than that,” Turturro said of his character, an American star who wreaks havoc on the set of an Italian workplace drama. “From lots of people. And from directors, too.”

Moretti’s tragicomedy, one of 19 competing for Cannes’ Palme d’Or, centers on a director (Margherita Buy) whose latest project is coming unstuck even as her mother is dying.

Turturro provides much of the film’s humor as Barry Huggins, who propositions his director almost as soon as he steps off the train, struggles with his Italian dialogue and tells self-aggrandizing anecdotes about working with Stanley Kubrick.

The film is a poignant meditation on losing a parent, and also provides a sharp insider’s view of the movie business, with its egos and foibles.

“I’ve seen all kinds of crazy behavior,” said Turturro, who won Cannes’ best-actor prize in 1991 for “Barton Fink.” That film’s directors, Joel and Ethan Coen, head this year’s Cannes jury.

“People are thrown together, a high-pressure situation. There is a vulnerability factor there.

“Also, people are lonely. They’re unmoored from their families, from reality, and they can become crazy, and very needy.

“You can fall madly in love with someone while you’re acting with them, but you don’t really know the person at all. You’re just in this make-believe world. And sometimes people do consummate that, and it usually turns out to be a disaster.”

–By Jill Lawless,

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