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Tuesday, 26 June, 2001, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Travolta's problem with Hollywood
John Travolta and Halle Berry
Swordfish stars Travolta and Berry
By BBC News Online's Olive Clancy

John Travolta, star of Grease and Saturday Night Fever, says it is time Hollywood backed another movie musical.

Travolta was speaking at the UK launch of his forthcoming movie Swordfish, a cyber-drama starring Travolta, Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry.

The film begins with Travolta's character chronicling the decline of the US film industry beginning with the words "The problem with Hollywood is...."

Halle Berry and John Travolta
Berry with Travolta as they appear in the film
The cast and film-makers each undertook to complete that sentence for themselves.

Travolta - who said that he was never aware that his movie career was in the doldrums either before Pulp Fiction or after his last film, the universally panned Battlefield Earth - jokingly said that catering was the worst thing about the US film industry.

But on a more serious note, he agreed with rising Australian star Jackman who called for more Hollywood musicals.

"And here you have Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman and John Travolta willing to sing and dance for you!"

Jackman made his US screen debut in X-Men, alongside Berry, but has a strong stage musical background.

He has appeared in Beauty in the Beast, Sunset Boulevard and most recently as Curly in the Royal National Theatre production of Oklahoma in the West End.

Bucking the trend

Producer Joel Silver, who made The Matrix and Lethal Weapon, said that his problem with Hollywood was that there are too few good movies.

Vinnie Jones
Lock, Stock star Vinnie Jones also stars in Swordfish
He admitted that as one of the most successful producers in the world he too had contributed to the dearth of good movies, but maintained that Swordfish, which opens in the UK on 27 July bucks the trend.

Swordfish tells the story of Gabriel Shear - played by Travolta - a man obsessed with protecting the American Way, who attempts to steal billions in illegal government funds.

With the aid of his partner Ginger (Halle Berry) he enlists computer hacker extraordinaire Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) to help achieve his aim.

Director Dominic Sena, who also made Kalifornia with Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis, said that unsubstantiated movie hype was his big gripe about Hollywood.

"They don't often enough deliver on what they say they will - the hype is 'Wait till you see this its like nothing you've ever seen before and it usually is a lot like things you've seen before'," he said.

John Travolta and Hugh Jackman
Travolta with Jackman before the Australian premiere
Sena's background in commercials is very much to the fore in this tightly filmed, fast-action drama.

Halle Berry, who revealed that her mother was born in Liverpool before moving to the US, deplored the lack of black leading ladies.

"Its very depressing," she said.

"Though I'm working so I'm not too upset about it, Hollywood needs to integrate films more."

Travolta also confirmed his roots - in his case Irish - and said he would love to make a film in the republic.

So the ideal Hollywood for this bunch of stars would feature companies making hype-free musicals with black leading ladies set in Ireland.

Over to the producer to see if it could ever work.

"If you guys want to make a musical," said Silver.

"As long as there's lots of explosions, gunfire and car chases in it, I'm happy to do it."

See also:

14 May 01 | Film
Travolta fishes for film hit
25 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Vinnie picked for Travolta movie
13 May 00 | Entertainment
Travolta's critical battlefield
13 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Travolta leads Raspberries race
11 May 00 | Entertainment
Film star Berry escapes jail
12 Feb 99 | Entertainment
Cool Spacey wins the day
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