Thursday, April 15, 2010

File under: "What might have been."

From the pages of the long-defunct industry trade journal Film Bulletin, John Travolta is the American Gigolo...

4 comments:

J.D. said...

Wow, that is fantastic! If only... Altho, I do like what Richard Gere did with the role but still...

Ned Merrill said...

Yes, Richard Gere should, if he hasn't done so already, thank Johnny Travolta for letting him feast on his scraps...AMERICAN GIGOLO and AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN.

Word was that Travolta was too busy flying planes / getting licensed to work on AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN. He kept turning down other Paramount projects to the point that he HAD to do STAYIN' ALIVE, which he did not want to do, but needed to do to fulfill his Paramount contract.

As for AMERICAN GIGOLO, in the production updates section in one 1979 issue of Film Bulletin, it was said that Travolta bowed out due to an issue / sickness in his family (his grandmother?) and that he felt the role was too close to the one he played in the previous year's box office bomb MOMENT BY MOMENT.

J.D. said...

Interesting trivia bits! Also, the Travolta-Gere connection extends to DAYS OF HEAVEN. Malick wanted Travolta originally but he couldn't get out of his WELCOME BACK KOTTER contract and so Malick had to go with Gere! Go figure...

Ned Merrill said...

That's right...I had heard about the DAYS OF HEAVEN story before, but I had forgotten it. Good call.

Of interest from the Warner Archive, is Robert Mulligan's BLOODBROTHERS, with Gere playing a Bronx variation on Tony Manero a year after SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. Based on a great novel by Richard Price, the film still feels too melodramatic and unfocused for my tastes and Gere is too old to be playing a 19 year-old, but I dig the upbeat Elmer Bernstein main theme and the cast of heavyweights: Paul Sorvino, Tony LoBianco, and Kenneth McMillan, plus many other recognizable "New York types" from the era. Watch for some great moments between Sorvino and McMillan and Sorvino and Gere.