Congratulations on your lifetime achievement award. (1) What's the best life advice you have been given?
Marlon Brando gave me great advice: never expect things from people they can't give you. That's hot. That'll save you a lot of heartbreak. And, think about it: it has a lot of tentacles. Because if you don't analyse what a person is capable of doing and if you're expecting one thing but you're getting another, well, why didn't you see that they could only give you that first thing? It's very powerful.
Do you still ever hit the dance floor?
Oh yeah, dancing's part of my soul. I enjoy it, it makes people happy, and it makes me happy.
Do you get tired of being in the spotlight?
I don't do as many movies now, so the pacing of them is better. Back in the days when I would do two or three movies a year and have to do world junkets for each of them – that was tiring, to be completely frank. But when I do a movie a year or so, or go to an event like this, there's not enough to tire me out. I do have ancillary commitments to Qantas, Breitling and Bombardier, and I do have to actively use my power in the press to help them get promotion.
What is the attraction of flying?
When I was a very little boy I lived underneath the air pattern of LaGuardia airport in New York and I watched the planes fly to their destinations. I was in love with the design of these airplanes. When I was eight, my sister took me on my first flight – then I was in love not just with watching, but also being on a plane. I grew up in a family of actors, in which air travel meant theatre and equalled these exciting vistas to me. Sports, entertainment and aviation are three of the most exciting professions in the world; you are dealing with the same magnitude.
So you are a thrill seeker?
Yeah, I think in a kind of global way, not so much that I need to run off a cliff or anything. I like the fast lane of things that matter to the world. Aviation matters to the world, entertainment matters to the world, the arts matter.
Scientology has had so much negative press. Why?
Well, you know, I love Scientology. I've been involved for 38 years, and I don't think I'd be here without it because I've had a lot of losses and different negative things that have happened over the years and it really got me through brilliantly. I would walk in to a session feeling one way and walk out feeling a lot better. [ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh]
You were raised a Catholic. What is it that Scientology gives you that Catholicism couldn't?
There are techniques for actually ridding you of stresses and pain as opposed to an advisory or recommendation on how to live. I believe L Ron Hubbard resolved the human mind, and in resolving it he has also resolved human pain – that's what I really think has happened here.
You worked a lot with James Gandolfini. (2) What is your strongest memory of him?
I'll tell you two small stories that will explain how I feel about him. The background is that my father sold automobile tyres to his father in New York, and he would see my photograph in the store window, and it inspired him to be an actor. Later, we ended up doing five movies together. When my son passed away, (3) he would not leave the city until I was OK, he was worried about me, and I felt it was so human, and so unusual for an actor to have this depth of feeling about someone. Before that, we were shooting a little movie with Salma Hayek [Lonely Hearts]. He was going through a divorce and was very sad. I saw him backstage and said: "Jim, did I ever tell you something?" He said: "What?" and I said: "I loved you the moment I met you." He started to cry, because he needed to cry. That was a true connection, and I hope these two stories explain it a bit.
What is your biggest career low?
You have to understand my origins. I'm from a working-class family. We didn't have a lot, but we had the arts. You're talking to a guy who is making a living at doing what he loves doing – acting, singing and dancing. So any career ups and downs were not that significant to me, the only things that really powerfully impinged on me were my losses, and there were many in my life. Those had an impact, but short of that, movies – I love them, but they're not life.
(1)Travolta is at the 48th Karlovy Vary film festival in the Czech Republic to pick up a Crystal Globe lifetime achievement award.
(2)Travolta starred in five films including Get Shorty with James Gandolfini, who died last month.
(3)Travolta's son Jett died in 2009 following a seizure while on holiday at Christmas with his family in the Bahamas.
I LOVE him as an actor but NO NO NO @ the Scientology shit still going strong, I thought he moved away from that BS after his son passed away. Disappointing :(