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21 questions

John Turturro Spells Theater As Theatre

Name: John Turturro
Age: 54
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Occupation: Actor, Director. His latest film, Passione, starts today and runs through July 5 at Film Forum.

Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Real, living: Herb Weitz. Rare bookseller and raconteur extraordinaire.
Fictional: Travis Bickle.

What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
I had a great meal recently with friends at Peter Luger for steak. Bar Pitti for lunch. Al di lĂ  in Park Slope.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
Make believe, seriously.

What was your first job in New York?
My first job was as a laborer for my father on his construction site. My first job out of the family was a dishwasher at a sandwich joint called Jim & Eddie’s, but they didn’t have a sign, so I thought the name was Jiminetti’s.

What's the last thing you saw on Broadway?
The Motherfucker With the Hat. It was my second time.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Sometimes. Depending on their rap.

What's your drink?
Coffee, espresso. A glass of good wine.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
In the morning, and at lunch sometimes. Dinner I’m a dishwasher again.

What's your favorite medication?
Advil, when I need it. I don’t like taking medicine. It makes me feel strange.

What's hanging above your sofa?
My younger son’s artwork. My older son’s is on the other wall.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
If you have curly hair, and a great haircutter like I do — Anthony, who I consider a master — then $100 is okay. Especially if the back of your head is going to be filmed. For kids, not more than $25.

When's bedtime?
11:30-ish.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
The old Times Square. It was dirty, dangerous, cheap, and sexy, filled with great lowlife characters.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
I've never gotten over his hair. How he does it is beyond me. As an actor who's had many extreme hairstyles, his is up there in the pantheon with Don King. What came first, the hairdo or the man? It's all I can look at when I see him.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
Tourists who clog the sidewalks.

Who is your mortal enemy?
I'm not sure. There's a certain critic who doesn't write for a New York newspaper, thankfully, who said something that I don't forget. Yeah, he's my enemy, but mortal? I don't think so.

When's the last time you drove a car?
Last weekend to see my brother.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
In some ways, but none too badly.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
Times in the morning, and then in the afternoon, I grab the News. Once in a while the Post. But not both.

Where do you go to be alone?
The park. A movie theatre in the afternoon. A long drive.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
Knowing how to navigate your way down a street.

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Photo: Iole Capasso/Squeezed Heart Productions