Travolta sets sights on "Battlefield Earth" sequel

Reuters/Variety, October 19, 2000

Believe it or not, John Travolta says he was delighted with "Battlefield Earth" -- the Scientology-inspired sci-fi thriller slammed by critics as one of the worst movies of all time -- and that plans are going ahead for a sequel.

"The bottom line is that I feel really good about it. Here I was taking big chances, breaking a new genre," said Travolta, one of Hollywood's leading followers of the Church of Scientology.

"I am so thrilled, believe it or not, at the outcome because I didn't believe I could get it done," an upbeat Travolta told journalists this week, adding that critics had a history of disliking sci-fi movies.

Asked whether there would be a "Battlefield 2," he said, "Sure. Yeah."

Based on the 1980 book by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, "Battlefield Earth" stars 46-year-old Travolta as the leader of a manipulative race of aliens bent on world dominance. Travolta also produced the film, which he said took 15 years to persuade studios to make.

Released in May, it was vilified by critics variously as "deeply dumb", "laughably bad" and a "monolithic monstrosity." It has grossed $21 million at the U.S. box office.

Travolta, star of "Saturday Night Fever" and "Get Shorty," said the movie was now winning fans on the Internet and growing on audiences.

"When I felt better about everything was when George Lucas and Quentin Tarantino and a lot of people that I felt knew what they were doing, saw it and thought it was a great piece of science fiction."

"The book stood for something classic, and this hopefully will too," Travolta added.

Travolta, who reinvented his career by switching from light comedy to playing a philosophical hit man in the 1994 movie "Pulp Fiction," said he enjoyed the challenge of doing something different.

"My whole career has been based on trying something new. If I don't try something new, I worry," he said.

His latest movie, "Lucky Numbers," set for release on October 27, is a dark comedy that sees him playing a dumb local television weatherman who plans a state lottery scam.

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