Flop with Ron
May 17, 2000
The filming of Ron Hubbard's "Battleship Earth," [sic] with which John Travolta had wished to memorialize the venerable Scientology founder, is likely to be a flop.
"Even a million monkeys with a million crayons in a million years could not produce such feeblemindedness," was the judgment of the Washington Post on the film which ran over the weekend on the science fiction novel "Battlefield Earth," penned by deceased Scientology founder Ron L. Hubbard. "Variety" wrote of "disastrous, cliched dialogue, cardboard characters and foolish drama." Scientologist Travolta has now fulfilled his lifelong dream by filming the book, which is being derided by "Variety" as "fun for idiots." Neither did the film get off the ground at the box office; Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" never gave it a chance.
Courage to tell the Truth
In "Wehrlos" ["Defenseless"] he makes a convincing "good guy" for the movie public - but during filming he only made enemies with terrible whims.
November 16, 1999
by Angelika Stanonik
John Travolta is Paul Brenner, investigator of the internal Criminal Investigation Division of the Army's Fort MacCallum in the southern U.S. Paul Brenner is regarded as being one-of-a-kind in his field and indefatigable: he may arrest the highest military in the U.S. Army anywhere in the world. Brenner portrayer John Travolta is the hero of producer Simon West's thriller "Defenseless - The General's Daughter" (starting Friday at the movie theaters) - and innocently falls into a real nightmare: Captain Elisabeth Campbell, daughter of a respected three-star general and dedicated expert in psychological warfare, was found dead on the parade grounds at the fort. She was tied up and naked.
A ritual murder and rape? Brenner and his attractive colleague, Sarah Sunhill (brilliant: Madeleine Stowe), search for the perpetrator, but are at first only lunging in the dark in their investigations. A tight network of lies becomes evident and the circle of suspects extends far - from the victim's boss, Colonel Robert Moore (James Woods) down to the local sheriff. The disenchantment begins when the clever investigating duo from the U.S. Army finds the deceased's diary: the general's daughter was hopping into the sack with practically every guy in the fort in tropical, sultry Savannah - and liked to wear leather outfits and carry a whip. Brenner traced the cause of Elisabeth's perverse ambitions to a traumatic incident in her past. Because the patent beauty followed troop exercises in the shadows, she was raped all night long by soldiers - and the powerful father forced his daughter to be quiet about it. And that revelation was not damaging enough for the military: General Campbell was also said to have been with his daughter right before her death...
Great success in the USA
A sordid scandal in the "sacred" world of the military always goes over well on the silver screen - especially in the USA, and even more so with a star of John Travolta's caliber. "The military is one of the places in American society where each person must subject themselves to a structure out of obedience and silence," John Travolta rated his role in a TV-MEDIA interview about "Defenseless - the General's Daughter." "In spite of his cynical profession, Brenner did not lose his sense of humor," continued Travolta, " and that is what made him so strong and superior."
And the U.S. public, yearning for heroes, rewarded the courage of Army investigator Brenner: after only eight weeks, "The General's Daughter" raked in 1.2 billion shillings at the box offices.
Moody as a Diva
John Travolta, famous-notorious son of an Italian-American tire dealer, and at home in the first string of the Hollywood team since "Pulp Fiction," once again mimes a good guy in the General's Daughter, but does not give a whit about what is wished upon him for his "deplorable whims" in Hollywood, according to an insider. "I've worked hard for my success," reacts the Scientology activist dryly to any criticism to his diva-hood, "I can afford a few luxuries."
After filming the legal drama "Civil Lawsuit" in which he mimes a Yuppie attorney struggling for justice, Travolta started confronting his environment with scurrilous whims. "John absolutely had to have ten personal slaves at his service," whispered a jet set insider at the time in the U.S. "Globe" gossip sheet, "we could only be amazed." Of course that sort of thing was nothing in comparison to the Prima Donna get-up which the General's Daughter brought in. His desires were formulated so bizarrely that he even got on the nerves of spouse Kelly Preston and son Jett, 6.
- The only way anybody could speak to John was through his personal manager
- Travolta required three gourmet meals per day and a massage every two hours
- Travolta enforced a ban on glass bottles within 100 yards of his mobile home. Travolta got even more extravagant when filming the detective story "Standing Room Only." He refused all catering and even Kelly's cuisine - and hired a master chef and six kitchen helpers for the filming...
The mime, grown by 250 pounds, currently likes most to gorge himself with enormous piles of caviar and mega-hamburgers slathered with mayonnaise. Wife Kelly, "Every time John turns around he is eating. He's acting like one of these geese which is fattened for their livers." And even his partner in film, Madeleine Stowe, had harsh criticism for him, "While filming the General's Daughter, John ate like an animal. It was really sordid and repulsive."