GOTTI: IN THE SHADOW OF MY FATHER
John Travolta likely set to play John Gotti. Do you prefer your Travolta family-friendly, or bad-ass?
by Kate Ward
Seems John Travolta was given an offer he couldn’t refuse: As EW anticipated in January, the Pulp Fiction actor is likely a lock to play John Gotti in Gotti: Three Generations, a biopic centered on the infamous crime family. Though a rep for the production company behind the project — Fiore Films — is not officially confirming the casting news yet, he tells EW that a press conference with Travolta, Gotti’s son John A. Gotti, and Nick Cassavetes (who is set to direct the film) has been scheduled for April 12 in New York. (It’s hard to imagine Travolta won’t be named Gotti at the press conference.)
Even though he’s not officially set as Gotti, the news makes me smile wide enough to fit an orange inside. Not only am I excited about the prospect of Travolta returning to his East Coast roots, but I’m also pumped to see the actor revisit breaking out the bad. Because as much as I enjoyed Hairspray and Look Who’s Talking, I’ll admit that I prefer my Travolta evil. Maybe it’s because bad-ass facial hair (at least, the non-alien kind) seems to strangely suit the actor. Or because the guy is extremely adept at holding a gun. Granted, both types of roles garner plenty of success for the actor — Wild Hogs made serious bank at the box office, but Pulp Fiction won him an Oscar nomination — but, to me, Travolta always seems to have more fun when playing the cackling villain. He appears to enjoy the challenge of making every single person in the movie theater despise him, which, strangely, only makes us love him more. Take, for example, 2009′s The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3: We had no clue why his Ryder would hijack a train and murder innocents, but we had to respect him for his nefarious sense of humor — and being able to pull off a 1970s porn ‘stache. And, of course, there’s 1997′s Face/Off: Somehow, Travolta managed to make evil so appealing, we almost preferred him to Nicolas Cage’s good guy. Even EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum mapped out her love for Travolta’s work in her review of the film: “Travolta hasn’t been this mesmerizing a star, or this good an actor, since Pulp Fiction. Obviously thriving under the stewardship of Woo (who also directed him in the less satisfying Broken Arrow), he draws out a performance from his costar as rigorous as Con Air‘s is lazy.”
But let’s hand this over to you, PopWatchers. Do you, like me, prefer your Travolta bad, or swiveling his hips to “Greased Lightenin’”?