John Turturro had a hunch. The actor was playing Howard Cosell in the TNT movie Monday Night Mayhem (airing tonight at 9 pm/ET), and it wasn't just the legendary sportscaster's nasally voice that he would use as a shorthand way of keying into the character it was his hunched-over posture.
"I had these jackets made a little too small to push my shoulders in, because if you buttoned them, it would just pull me right over," Turturro tells TV Guide Online. "I told the designer, 'Listen, this jacket's too small, but it's perfect for my shoulders because my shoulders are bigger than his.'"
Mayhem chronicles the early years of ABC's Monday Night Football, including the fragile beginnings of Frank Gifford's (Kevin Anderson) announcing career and MNF director Chet Forte's (Nicholas Turturro, John's brother) gambling problems. But it's Turturro's portrayal of the love-him-or-hate-him Cosell and his attempts to transcend his jock-filled world that is the film's centerpiece.And it could have been a rather unfulfilling dramatization if the Brooklyn native best known for films like 1991's Barton Fink and 2000's O Brother, Where Art Thou? hadn't nailed his fellow New Yorker's infamous twang. "He did have this type of staccato rhythm, but he had a variety of [inflections]," explains Turturro, who listened to hours of Cosell tapes. "It wasn't only, 'This ... Is... The... Way... It.... Is.' That's the trap you fall into. When you're doing any kind of voice or accent, you have to find a way to be able to vary the expressions and not feel like you're impersonating someone."