John Travolta is famous for playing characters like Vinnie Barbarino on “Welcome back, Kotter” or Danny Zuko in “Grease.” Now he’s going from famous to infamous. He’s taking on the role of mob boss John Gotti and we sat down with him and his wife Kelly Preston to chat about it in Miami, Friday.
John Travolta (as John Gotti Sr.): “Let me tell you something, New York is the best city in the world. My city.”
New York may be John Gotti’s city, but John Travolta and Kelly Preston love Miami. We caught up with them at the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key.
Chris Van Vliet: “Good to see you guys.”
John Travolta and Kelly Preston: “You too.”
Chris Van Vliet: “Welcome back to Miami.”
John Travolta and Kelly Preston: “Thank you.”
Chris Van Vliet: “What do you guys love about being here?”
John Travolta: “My new biggest affection for Miami is my friendship with Pitbull.”
Chris Van Vliet: “OK, Mr. 305!”
And that friendship led to Mr. 305 composing the score for “Gotti” — a first for him. In the film, John Travolta plays the Teflon Don, and his wife Victoria is played by his actual wife, Kelly Preston.
Chris Van Vliet: “As famous as John Gotti was, he’s also infamous. John, in learning about him and meeting with his family, did you gain a certain amount of respect for him, even though he’s a criminal?”
John Travolta: “Well, you had to respect the infrastructure and the navigation that he did to achieve what he did. He was almost becoming the most powerful person in the country.”
Victoria Gotti was by her husband’s side through it all — including several stints in prison and throat cancer that ended John’s life in 2002.
Kelly Preston: “I find her an amazing woman. She had a very difficult life. Knowing that they had a very passionate relationship and they both adored their children.”
Victoria Gotti and John Gotti Jr. were on set to make sure the story was as authentic as possible — and that included having some pieces of John Sr. there, too.
John Travolta: “I got to wear his actual jewelry. The coats I wore, actually had his cologne, and I could smell the scent of him during scenes.”
Chris Van Vliet: “If John Gotti were to put a hit on one of your previous characters that you’ve played, who would deserve it the most?”
John Travolta: “Oh, probably Castor Troy in ‘Face/Off.'”
Chris Van Vliet: “Oh, yeah!”
John Travolta: “Hell to the yes!”
John Travolta (as Castor Troy in “Face/Off”): “Wee, ha ha ha. What a predicament!”
“Gotti” hits theaters June 15.
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