Spotlight By: Damaris Olivo
From the controversy surrounding his devotion to Scientology to his varied, yet always entertaining films, John Travolta has managed to remain in the spotlight, making us laugh, cry, and dance for decades. Having dabbled in every film genre from the musical (Grease) to the crime drama (Pulp Fiction), this Academy Award nominated actor is considered one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood.
After writing and illustrating a children’s book in 1992, recording various albums, and starring in countless films, all while remaining a devoted family man (his wife is actress Kelly Preston), there’s virtually nothing this man can’t do.
In the new comedy Wild Hogs Travolta plays Woody Stevens, a workaholic, middle-aged biker wannabe who goes on a motorcycle trip with his equally jaded buddies (Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy). So can this frequent flying actor known for his jet aircraft piloting abilities relate to his character in the film?
‘I will go off at any given moment with the family, with friends to explore the world,’ says the star. ‘I go around the world once a year, I love it. That’s probably the only thing I identify with my character- the wanderlust aspect of it.’
A jack-of-all-trades, Travolta enthusiastically responds when asked if he had any trouble dominating the Harley motorcycles he rides in the film.
‘I’ve ridden bikes since I was 18, [they were] my first transportation when I came to Hollywood because it was inexpensive and easy for me. I rode Harleys in the Daytona bike week several times.’
Although he had no problem staying on the motorcycles, he is quick to spill the beans on which one of his co-stars didn’t do as well with the bikes. ‘Tim was the one that had the spills, and that’s because he was showing off like he likes to always!’ he exclaims playfully.
The four co-stars seem to have gotten along grandly during filming.
It’s clear that the four actors cultivated real-life friendships. So how does Travolta feel about men and their emotional availability when it comes to their friends of the same sex?
‘My character takes the whole movie to admit that his wife left him. Two women together, it would be the first five minutes,” says Travolta. It takes guys longer to get in communication with each other in an emotional way. In this movie they actually end up in a good place with each other.’
So even though he’d have absolutely no problem getting around by airplane or motorcycle, it’s been proven that the A-list actor isn’t bad on his feet either, a fact that wasn’t lost on the film’s creators.
Brad Copeland, the writer of Wild Hogs, wanted to put the star’s dancing abilities to good use. Referring to a scene in which he teaches William H. Macy‘s romantically challenged character how to dance with his love interest (Marisa Tomei), Travolta says, ‘The dancing was in the screenplay. We modified it and made it more about Bill’s dance with Marisa than my intervening.’ He confesses, ‘I actually removed a lot of what they wanted me to do because I thought it was a little arbitrary. So basically I said I would teach and let him go do his thing, but I didn’t want to go out there as well.’
He also deserves credit for a well-made casting decision in the film. ‘It was my idea to have Peter Fonda. I will take full credit for this idea,’ he brags jokingly, ‘Because I was 13 years old when
With awards season just having passed, the two-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner spoke of his feelings about the awards process. ‘I’m very proud of the Academy and the experience. I love giving out awards and I love being nominated for them. It’s a pinnacle in your work where you’re recognized. I take great, big pride in that.
‘I remember being nominated for Pulp Fiction, nominated for Saturday Night Fever, and I won the Golden Globe for Get Shorty and a few other Golden Globes. But I think the award process is a wonderful acknowledgement of your work, and I don’t want it taken away, I’d like it to stay,’ he says. ‘Tim, I think, would like to take away everybody’s award,’ he adds jokingly of his co-star, Tim Allen, who, having mostly appeared in family comedies, has not had the award-winning luck of John Travolta.
With upcoming projects such as the films Hairspray and Dallas this multi-talented triple threat shows no signs of slowing down.
So have this mega-successful superstar or any of his co-stars gone through a mid-life crisis situation, like their characters in Wild Hogs?
‘It could happen at any age,’ he expresses. And in true, smooth, Travolta fashion he adds, ‘We’re too blessed to be stressed.’ Gotta love that John Travolta.