John Travolta has a star turn as the energetic and charismatic bad guy calling himself Ryder in Tony Scott’s The Taking of Pelham 123, opposite Denzel Washington. But as we all know, he’s struggling through a personal nightmare with the loss of his son Jett in January, so he’s not taken part in any of the press rounds for the film. He did, however, release a statement on his website to thank the filmmakers and his co-stars for giving his family “the additional time to reconcile our loss” while gamely doing a bit of promotion for the movie, calling it a “labor of love.” “Tony gave me the freedom to define, and then to become, the ultimate evil mastermind. This role as an actor gave me the chance to dispense with all moral and ethical limitations and explore just how bad this character could really be. I believe you will like the result.”
As far as how Travolta is coping, Washington gave a little update at the press conference for the film. “I talked with John,” he said. “Needless to say, he’s struggling. He’s struggling. More than talking to him, I listened to him for about two or three hours. It’s gonna take time. What can you say? What can you say, really? Just be there as a friend, because he’s such a sweet, sweet person. Our prayers are with him and his wife and his family.”
Watch the original version of The Taking of Pelham 123 right here on Fancast to truly appreciate the new direction that Travolta takes the character in the new film, which opens this Friday.