John Travolta joined Kevin Hart last night on Hart to Heart and went into detail explaining the 1970s and 1980s film industry dynamics. Humbly he said, there were four guys to choose from for the big roles, so he had good odds. He also made the unbelievable statement that Splash was written for him in mind. Splash?! That would have been a COMPLETELY different movie! Here’s the video.
Kevin Hart notes in the clip how fascinated he is with the chronology of the movie business, and John Travolta agrees. He says when he was bridging from TV to film, “It was just Richard Gere, myself and Treat Williams up for most parts and Tom (Hanks) came a few years later, like ’81 or ’82… those roles would get interchangeable. So in some ways, in Vegas, what’s a one out of four chance.”
‘The second indication, if you will, of having a solidity in the movie industry was a director called Terrence Malick,” Travolta recalled. Malick made a name for himself by ushering in the new wave of actors after the Charles Bronson, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Clint Eastwood era. He got his start taking a crack at punching up Dirty Harry before his breakthrough feature film debut with Badlands, launching a stop and start career including Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line.
Travolta goes on to explain, “He directed very important films in the ’70s, and he wanted me for a film called Days Of Heaven, and I screen-tested for it right after Carrie and before The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.” He landed the role, but they would not let him out of his hit tv series Welcome Back, Kotter. “But it was such a significant role, that Richard Gere ended up doing, which ended up a theme, where he did many roles I didn’t do,” Travolta said.
“So between The Last Detail and Days of Heaven, I really got the idea that the force wanted me to be a film actor, so by the time I got the Saturday Night Fever opportunity, I said, ‘I’m gonna make this work. I’m gonna do everything I can to make this an authentic, great performance.”’ He jibed that he helped make some pretty big movie stars. “I take responsibility for Richard and Tom Hanks. There’s enough for everybody. Arts shouldn’t be hoarded.”
With such culture-defining and unforgettable roles under his belt, it’s impossible to picture the landscape of cinema without his contributions. He had to walk away from a hit TV show to give what could have been the Breakin’ of his time and take his chance to knock it out of the park. Quentin Tarantino has been credited with rebooting his career, but he didn’t revive it. He’s been working non-stop since Carrie. He has a film in production write now called Paradise Citystarring alongside Bruce Willis and Stephen Dorff , directed by Chuck Russell. We’re here for it, Mr. Travolta!