Monday, May 27, 2024

John Travolta Skips New York Premiere Party for “Savages”


John Travolta came to the theater and took pictures, but he was a conspicuous no-show for the after party in New York for “Savages.” So was co-star Blake Lively, who came to the theater looking stunning in a dressy peach colored gown. Oh well. They missed a good party at Bagatelle, where director Oliver Stone and star Taylor Kitsch mixed with Chris Meloni. rocker Rob Thomas, actress Dana Delany, “Precious” screenwriter Geoff Fletcher, and a ton of good looking people. Stone’s first wife, Najwa Sarkis, came to the screening and the party; Stone graciously gave her a shout out during introductions.

Some other “Savages” stars couldn’t make it. Salma Hayek is filming “Grown Ups 2.” Aaron Johnson, 22, has just married his 45 year old girlfriend, British director Sam Taylor-Wood. (They have a child together.) Benicio del Toro–who knows?

But none of that matters, really. “Savages” is pretty great if you like very violent movies about the drug trade with a good dollop of sex. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the script is solid. You do care about these characters, even if they are outlaws for whom bloody encounters are a common occurrence. Stone is a smart filmmaker, so there’s no pandering. And the funny thing about “Savages” is that it grows on you. Kitsch, who’s had a tough year already with “John Carter” and “Battleship” does excellent work here. Rob and Marisol Thomas, fans of his from “Friday Night Lights,” were full of praise for him.

And what about John Travolta? In person now he looks like a grown up Eddie Munster. He’s got this dark-dyed sort of turf on his head. We all know about his other tabloidy problems. But I’ll say this for him. On screen, even in a secondary role, he’s very good. And he looks better–no hairpiece, no dye. He looks…dare I say? Normal. And he’s got a star quality. Stone told me he was terrific to work with, and did not come with his usual 40 page “perk package.”

So this is how “Savages” will go audience wise–couples can split up at the theater. The ladies can see “Magic Mike” and the guys can take in “Savages.” Something for everyone!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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