John Turturro on ‘The Name of the Rose’ Series and Investigating Umberto Eco

John Turturro hadn’t read Umberto Eco’s thriller “The Name of the Rose” or seen the 1986 movie when he was approached in spring of last year about a new TV adaptation. After reading the novel, one of the best-selling of all time, Turturro agreed to sign on – if the producers agreed to honor the original, he says.

“I read the book and I loved it. I started writing to [director] Giacomo [Battiato] to say, ‘Why isn’t there more Eco, this is eight hours, you don’t have to reduce it,” Turturro says. “I said, ‘If you put more of Eco in, then I’m interested.’”

Turturro takes the role played by Sean Connery in the film, that of William Baskerville, the Franciscan monk investigating a series of mysterious murders in a 14th-century Italian monastery. Rupert Everett plays merciless inquisitor Bernard Gui, and Michael Emerson is the abbot among an international cast.

Rising star Damian Hardung plays Baskerville’s novice, Adso. Turturro says he both gave his younger co-star advice and looked to him for assistance. “I was a little bit intimidated at first, as I am not really a man of science,” he says. “Damian Hardung comes from a family of doctors, and he’s a brilliant young man and he really has a very scientific mind. I was able to help him on a lot of maybe acting problems, and he was able to help delineate where we were missing something, what wasn’t specific enough. So we found were able to help each other.”

Related

Maggie Gyllenhaal on How 'Kindergarten Teacher' Expresses the 'Female Experience'

International Deals for Buzzy Italian Dramas ‘The Hunter,’ ‘Rocco Schiavone’ (EXCLUSIVE)