Thursday, November 15, 2007

Travolta honored by fim fest for 'iconic' career


The red carpet was rolled out last night at the Four Seasons Biltmore to honor John Travolta, who received the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film.
Travolta said he was honored to follow in the footsteps of Douglas, who received the award in 2006, the award’s inaugural year.

“To have the privilege of Kirk Douglas honoring me; it’s beyond a privilege,” Travolta said.
Douglas called Travolta a “great talent.”
Montecito resident Dennis Franz, who starred in the television drama NYPD Blue and worked with Travolta in the 1981 thriller “Blow Out,” said he thinks Travolta has a charismatic appeal on the screen that few other actors have.
Roger Durling, the film festival’s director, said the award was spurred in an effort to honor iconic actors who possess the ability to reinvent themselves through the years. He said few have demonstrated that ability as well as Douglas and Travolta.
“You can’t get any bigger icon wise that Kirk Douglas, and to have someone like John Travolta as the recipient is pretty overwhelming,” Durling said. “Kirk is an icon and every decade he’s reinvented himself and given incredible films and John Travolta is the same.”
There is perhaps no better example of how Travolta has reinvented himself than in the film “Hairspray,” where he plays Edna Turnblad, the plus-sized mother of Tracy Turnblad, who deals with the societal issues of being overweight and the desire to be a dancer.
For the film, Travolta had to play a woman very convincingly, who was married to Wilbur Turnblad, played by Christopher Walken.
Neil Meron, a producer of “Hairspray,” said last night that Travolta spent more time mastering his character than any other actor.
“He was very obsessed with every detail of that woman,” Meron said. “He’s a great talent.”
Honoring some of Hollywood’s biggest stars has become the calling card for the film festival, which is entering its 23rd year. When the festival officially kicks off on Jan. 24, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones will be among the stars receiving awards.
Franz said he is impressed with what Durling has done to put the festival on the main stage.
“I’m thrilled with it,” Franz said. “The community has embraced it. It’s a holiday for a lot of actors to look forward to come here.”

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