FEATURE JOHN TRAVOLTA
Even with the millennium around the corner. who would have been so bold as to prophesise the Second Coming of John Travolta? Alan Morrison listens as a star is reborn.
5 The List 8-21 Mar l996
very actor is allowed a duff moyie once in a while. John 'l‘rayolta made a career out of them. in an extended fall from grace that lasted sixteen years. Back in l‘)77. at the age of 23. he was thrust into the glitterball spotlight with an Oscar nomination for Saturday .N'i'ght I’m-er: last year he was on the short list again for Pulp Fiction. In between . . . well. let‘s just say that the two Academy nods proves that. in John 'l‘ravolta‘s case. life does begin (again) at Jit).
The fact that Pulp 13th made more than $100 million in America isn't enough in itselfto
justify the greatest comeback since Lazarus
popped out of his cave and asked what was for breakfast. 'l'here‘s something about 'l‘ravolta‘s screen presence that exudes magnetism and oyercomes the slea/iness of the characters he plays: in Pulp Fiction. he‘s a chubby. dope- deyouring. past-his-prime hitman: in .S'aturday .Vlg’lll l-‘vrer. a conceited. inarticulate sexist.
lior a generation who had sneaked in (under age) to Saturday Night l-‘et'er or crooned along with the Grease soundtrack. the man was — and foreyer will be — the epitome of cool. \Nell. as cool as anyone can possibly be in a pair of crotch-tight. wide-flared trousers. ln .S’aturday Mela l'i'wr. he oozes an arrogant sexuality that’s emphasised by the way the camera lingers as he preens himself in front of the mirror before a night of dancefloor rituals.
The new formula for success is to match the charisma of the man with some hip scripts. His performance as a loan shark swimming the murky waters of Hollywood in Get Shorty
‘My agent told me not to do Splash, even though the director had written it with me in mind. Needless to say, I’m not with the same agent anymore.’
brings together the cockerel street-strut of Saturday Ale/II Fever and the black—clad cool of Pulp Fiction: it also won him a Golden Globe for Best Actor. Broke/I in’IYMt'. in which he co- stars with (‘hristian Slater. offers a new departure on two counts: it's 'l‘rayolta‘s first genre action moyie and he plays his first screen yillain -- \'ic Deakins. a US military pilot who steals a pair of nuclear warheads. The film blasted straight into the top slot in the American box office chat'ls.
Still to come are the intriguing social drama White Man 's Burden. in which black supremecy reyerses racial inequalities in the States: the big budget fantasy Phenomena/I: a turn as the tarnished. womanising archangel in Nora liphron‘s .llir/tael. and the lead in Roman l’olanski‘s adaptation of Dostoey'sky‘s The Daub/v. Pretty soon. 'l‘rayolta reckons he'll be able to command the going megastar price of up to $20 million per picture.
Not bad for a man whose choice of roles was. for a time. unfortunate to say the least. ‘My agent told the not to do .S‘p/ash. even though the director had written it with me in mind.‘ 'l‘rayolta admits. ‘()fcourse. it turned out to be a huge hit. Needless to say. I‘m not with the same