“John is great, because he likes playing with his image,” Pierre Morel, director of “From Paris,” “Taken” and the upcoming “Dune” adaptation explained to us recently. “He likes doing different characters every time.”
Following in the tradition of his long hair in “Pulp Fiction,” his weird chin landing-strip in “Swordfish” and his gender switching in “Hairspray,” Travolta decided to give himself another extreme makeover: Going bald and wearing a goatee for “Paris.” According to Morel, the look was a tribute to the fellow A-lister he channels in his performance.
“It’s kind of like John Travolta doing Bruce Willis – I shouldn’t say that I guess, but that’s the way it is,” Morel said. “He’s playing a badass.”
“The basic plot is that it’s the story of a young rookie that works for the American embassy in Paris. He’s a wannabe spy, a wannabe agent, but he never gets to go on any specific big missions,” the filmmaker said of the role played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. “All of a sudden, he’s thrown into a mission with a rugged badass, played by John Travolta – who is actually a field agent, but he’s a big cowboy type… it’s a buddy movie, an action comedy.”
When the film hits theaters on February 5th, don’t be surprised if Travolta’s FBI agent Charlie Wax feels a bit like John McClane, Hartigan from “Sin City,” Joe Hallenbeck from “The Last Boy Scout” and who knows how many other Willis creations.
“Right away, when I started thinking about that character, I talked with John and said, ‘We need to find a look that goes really well with what you’re playing,’” Morel said. “Having him with that shaved head and the goatee beard was part of building that character bigger than what it’s supposed to be. It’s larger-than-life. It’s over-the-top. It’s too much.”
“Imagine Travolta playing a larger-than-life Bruce Willis,” explained Morel, who next hopes to tackle a high-profile “Dune” adaptation. “We had to make his look accordingly, so that’s what it is.”
What’s your favorite Travolta look of all time?