May 14, 2018 / 4:18 PM / 4 months ago

Forty years after 'Grease', Travolta's back in Cannes

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Fans of high school musical “Grease” are in for a treat if they can make it to the French Riviera this week.

71st Cannes Film Festival - Cannes, France, May 14, 2018. Director Kevin Connolly poses with cast members John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston during a rendez-vous for the film Gotti. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The movie will be screened on the beach on Wednesday to celebrate its 40th anniversary. And fans might get a glimpse of its star, John Travolta, who is back in Cannes promoting his new film, “Gotti”, about a New York gangster.

In 1978, Travolta, already a global sensation thanks to “Saturday Night Fever”, came to the Cannes Film Festival to promote “Grease”, a huge hit that also made him a music star with songs from the soundtrack dominating the charts.

“The mid-point was ‘Pulp Fiction’, so it was 40 year, 20 year and now today,” Travolta reminisced.

“My mother always told me when I was younger: ‘Don’t rush things, it’s going to go very fast’, and boom, here I am,” he told Reuters.

“I’ve lived a long life but it has really gone fast.”

71st Cannes Film Festival - Cannes, France, May 14, 2018. Cast members John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston pose during a rendez-vous for the film Gotti. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Cult crime flick “Pulp Fiction” won Cannes’ Palme d’Or top prize in 1994, giving a second wind to Travolta’s career.

In his new film, Travolta plays John Gotti, a gangster boss who died in 2002. Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, co-stars as Gotti’s wife and the mother of their son who refuses to follow his father into the mob.

“He is very different from what I am and who I am and how I think and my values,” Travolta said of playing the gangster.

“It’s a completely different person - that’s something fun to play.”

Getting the film made, he said, was far less fun: “The challenges kept on knocking us down – different directors, different casts, different scripts – one was too shoot-‘em-up , one was too family,” he said.

“People like challenges and I was willing to stay with it til we saw it through.”

The Cannes Film Festival runs until May 19.

Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Alison Williams

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