ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) — John Travolta, who TV viewers last saw as Robert Shapiro in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, is now stepping into the shoes of another iconic real-life character, this time a notorious mob boss, in the new film The Life and Death of John Gotti.
To portray the flashy figure, Travolta nearly literally walked in the man’s shoes. “I got to wear his real jewelry. In several of the scenes I’m wearing his real ties,” the actor told ABC News’ Mara Schiavocampo.
Travolta, 62, called getting into Gotti’s skin “an evolution. ”
In a case of art imitating life, Gotti’s wife, Victoria Gotti, is played in the movie by Travolta’s real-life wife, Kelly Preston.
Preston described the movie as full of “fabulous fashion” and “big hair.” She said she believes the infamous couple made it through John Gotti’s crime-filled life by compartmentalizing.
“She knew what was going on,” Preston said of her character. “But she said, ‘When he would come in, the door would close and that life would end.’”
The Gottis’ own son, John Gotti Jr., was a frequent visitor to the set and key adviser for the movie, which is directed by Entourage star Kevin Connolly.
“There’s always two sides to a story,” Travolta said of why he was drawn to portraying Gotti on the big screen.
“They had a very human other side of existence, which is their family and their trials and tribulations.”
Ben and Ella joined their parents in Cincinnati for the filming of the movie which saw parts of the Midwestern town transformed into 1980s New York.
When asked if there was any part of the 1980s that he would like to bring back, Travolta had a quick answer.
“I danced with Princess Diana in 1986 and that was one of the highlights of my life,” he said, referring to their dance at the White House that resulted in an iconic photograph.
The Life and Death of John Gotti is scheduled to hit theaters in 2017.
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