The tables began to turn once again for John Travolta when he starred opposite Kirstie Alley as a young taxi driver in “Look Who’s Talking.” The movie was released in 1989 and made a phenomenal $297 million at the box office. The producers knew they were on to a winner as this was Travolta’s biggest box office win since “Grease.” They decided to make a number of sequels ushering in a new era of success.
Some called this his “John-aissance,” which was well and truly in full swing when in 1994 he was offered a role in Quinten Tarantino’s new movie, “Pulp Fiction.” Travolta played opposite Samuel L Jackson and earned himself an Academy Award Nomination for best actor for his role as Vincent Vega. This was almost like a rebirth for Travolta reaching new heights and successes. Of course with this was more fame and fortune.
Not every role you choose is going to be a success, and for Travolta, the dip in his career came when he starred in the movie, "Urban Cowboy," following which was a string of failed films that had very poor reviews and didn’t do well at the box office either. This was despite him being offered multiple roles that were sure-fire hits.
Not every decision is the right decision at the time, and this led to a downturn in movie offers and a period of quiet for Travolta. As we know, this wasn’t the end of his career, and soon enough, he was making good decisions and appearing in huge hits once again. Travolta had re-found his mojo.
A Singing Sensation
Most of Travolta’s career has been focused on acting and dancing, but he is the triple threat and can also belt out a tune. After appearing in "Grease" he could have taken the same route as his co-star, Olivia Newton-John, and become a successful singer, but he decided to stick with acting.
John Travolta did make one foray into singing as a young 22-year-old when he released a love song entitled, “Let Her In.” It captured the hearts and minds of the American public and eventually made it to the number 10 spot on the Billboard charts. But that's as serious as Travolta got as a full-time singer.
"Pulp Fiction" may not have been big budget, but it had catapulted Travolta into an area of A-list movies with top actors. In the long string of successful films for which he was given top roles during the nineties included playing opposite Nicolas Cage as an FBI agent in the thriller, "Faceoff."
He also played the role of a loan shark in "Get Shorty" and as an attorney in "Civil Action." It wasn’t until the end of the nineties when John Travolta was cast as a presidential candidate who was similar in many ways to Bill Clinton in the movie "Primary Colors." The role was demanding and challenging, and Travolta would have to make some drastic changes to his appearance to make the character believable.
For his role in "Primary Colors" in 1998, for which he would be portraying a Presidential candidate similar to Bill Clinton, the directors, and producers thought it might be more believable if Travolta gained some weight to portray the role.
They asked him to gain about thirty pounds which was a departure from his slim and sleek physique in movies like "Grease" and "Saturday Night Fever." To make this happen, he said he got to binge-eat burgers and junk food, to which he admitted to enjoying. “It’s been fun gaining it,” he said. Of course, Travolta would eventually undo all of that "hard work" for future projects.