zrakor.gif (6225 bytes) About "A Civil Action"  zrakor.gif (6225 bytes)


Charmed and cherished: Betty finally meets John Travolta...and lives to tell about it.

Vital statistics: Born in Englewood, New Jersey on February 18, 1954 this high school dropout was responsible for the disco generation and bringing back cowboy cool. Gorgeous. Generous. And unfortunately, very married to actress Kelly Preston. First off, let it be known that BeatBoxBetty has idolized this man since the pre-disco days of Welcome Back Kotter and Boy in the Plastic Bubble. And normally, I can chat up a celebrity as easy as I can down a martini. Thatís normally. But then again, this is John Travolta.

All tongue-tied and beyond goofy, I recently got the chance to speak with the riveting star of A Civil Action on his upcoming film, life at home and how he saved my life. LetĎs just say this dimpled darling is the only reason I survived puberty! So, how did Betty hold up? Iíll never wash my cheek again!

BBB: In the legal thriller, A Civil Action, you play real life attorney Jan Schlichtmann, who starts out being an arrogant son-of-a-gun who basically chases ambulances for a living. Eventually he redeems himself, but did you think it would be difficult playing him?
JOHN: This script is such a challenge. For most of the movie I had to ignore every instinct in my body. Every compassion, every feeling of empathy. I had to be cold, distant and arrogant and yet be aware of it so you can watch it.

BBB: Yeah, but you made this slimy attorney actually likable.
JOHN: Well, he evolves into that. But the only thing that makes him watchable, at least in the beginning, is that heís not aware of his arrogance.

BBB: This story of Jan is much like your own career. You went through some high times, then some hard times with hardly any roles, now youíre on top again.
JOHN: The real Jan thrived on that. He thrived on his lows and his highs. I learn from my highs and lows. In a career sense, I learned to say yes more often. Because I used to say no a lot. I turned down An Officer and a Gentleman, Splash, Midnight Express, As Good As It Gets and Good Will Hunting. I turned down some good movies, but I took the time off to experience life, which was not a mistake. It was good to do. What Iím saying is that this time, Iíve done my rubbing elbows with all sorts of people and experiencing life. Now I can say yes and get down to work, which is fine too.

BBB: With such a crazy schedule of working on movie after movie, how do you manage to find any normalcy in your life?
JOHN: Well, yesterday I did this [a grueling press junket for the film] but for TV all day. Then I went home at six and I stayed up until 11:30 and put Jett to bed. Kelly and I were with him the whole time...we spent the whole evening with him. He fell asleep with of us on either side of him. And what does that make it? 5 1/2 hours? God, I grew up with less than that. Didnít you?

BBB: True. Listen John, I have just have to take a moment here and thank you for saving my life when I was in Junior High.
JOHN: Get out! What?

BBB: Well, I lived in a rough neighborhood growing up and I used to get beat up in the bathroom. The only thing that would save me would be if I did an impression of you. Theyíd say, "Hey donít beat her up, she can do that John Travolta!"
JOHN: Well, do a little!

BBB: (Put on the spot, I do my best Danny Zucko from GreaseÖ) Sandy! (John laughs and holds his mouth in amazement)
JOHN: Thatís so great! Oh my God Ė you totally look like me when you do it! Itís a amazing what the power of a performance can do in small ways to peopleís lives. Like when I met Anne AndersonÖ[a woman who lost her son to water poisoning and is played by Kathleen Quinlan in the film] the first thing she said was, "My son before he died, he loved Kotter and he loved Barbarino. That was what he lived for. He looked forward to seeing you every week." I thought, "How did I know?" And who knew that twenty years ago I was somehow saving your life?!

BBB: Well, you can save my life anytime John!