Larger-than-life yet genuinely charming, Hollywood Supa-Star John Travolta packed out the theatre at Supanova in Adelaide, offering fans a once-in-a-lifetime Q&A opportunity.
Here are just a few highlights.
“I came from a theatre family where my mum and sisters were involved very deeply in the arts, and we were taught to change it up and do different things to entertain people. It was my lack of fear of change that allowed me to do different characters… I could have never imagined playing President of the United States, or a woman, or lawyer, or a hitman, who were all so different from each other.”
BEST FACE/OFF MEMORY
“It was the day I realised I could be Nicolas Cage very easily, because there is a hook to his behaviour; he elongates his words and walks a certain way, and I got excited because I’m a physical actor.”
“Lately, I have enjoyed this actor by the name of Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), he is really doing some interesting work as an actor, and I also love Michael Pitt (Hannibal, Boardwalk Empire).
“There are a lot of directors who I’m inspired by and I’ve gotten to work with most of them. I always try to find someone because if you don’t, you kind of lose your interest in your profession a little bit and you have to have people that you’re excited to watch.”
BECOMING DANNY ZUKO IN GREASE
“I had a bit of an advantage… I got to watch everyone else do that role [as Doody in the play], and I remembered all the things that worked and what didn’t. By the time I got to do the movie and the role that I wanted, which was Danny, I knew exactly how to do it.”
FAVOURITE MUSICAL NUMBER
“[‘(You’re) Timeless to Me’] was fun in Hairspray, and in Grease, ‘You’re the One That I Want’ is very hard to beat.”
STAYING HUMBLE IN HOLLYWOOD
“Life is humbling, you know, how long can you stay at altitude without life inviting you to land? And I think I realised that from a very young age. You can’t stand at the top of the mountain and think it’s real all of the time; you have moments where you enjoy the success and highlights, but it’s balanced by the bunch of realistic moments and that is what makes you an artist, you mix the highs with the lows and you parlay them into creative thoughts… the more famous I got, the more real I got about life and I’ve always felt very fortunate to have had the opportunities that I’ve have and there’s an innate humbleness to that.”
“Recently, my favourite role is in The Fanatic, because I got to explore all the moments when I have been a fan of all the people that I’ve loved. I always enjoy the role that I’m in the middle of, some more than others, but The Fanatic is certainly one that I enjoyed more than most.”
GETTING THE ROLE OF VINCENT VEGA IN PULP FICTION
“It was easy because [Quentin Tarrantino] was actually a fan of mine, and when he met me, before he ever cast me, all he wanted to do was play the board games of my films. At the end of that evening, he presented two roles for me – one for From Dusk Till Dawn and the other Pulp Fiction, and he said he could tell I liked the sound of Pulp Fiction better.
“That night I changed his mind in one way or another and [he] gave the role to me, and on set, he was generous with the fact that he allowed me to create and didn’t interfere with my interpretation of my character.”
MOST CHALLENGING ROLE
“To be honest, I don’t find acting to be challenging or difficult, I find it to be inspiring, so the truth would be, the less well-written roles. You must rise to a new level of approach, which you just want to survive and be good and professional enough to get the communication across. Those are definitely the most challenging roles, because you have to work overtime to achieve a good result.”
FAVOURITE SCENE FROM GREASE
“Probably ‘You’re the One That I Want’ because it was a new song and it wasn’t in the Broadway show that I had done, as it was written for the movie specifically. I was excited to sing and perform it, and it was such a change for Olivia [Newton-John] with her outfit and there was an excitement on set on how this would come off. That was my favourite sequence to shoot, but of course, there’s also ‘Summer Nights’ and ‘Greased Lightning’.”
Lead image: John Travolta at Supanova 2019 – Adelaide. Photo by Steven Yee.