Appearing at a promotional press conference for an upcoming film at the Zurich Film Festival, actor John Travolta made a startling announcement that should excite (or horrify) sports fans across the nation.
The actor, who reached fame portraying dancer Tony Manero in the 1977 box office smash Saturday Night Fever, is considering playing legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi in a biopic.
“I’m also considering doing a US film about the football coach Vince Lombardi, who coached my dad [Salvatore Travolta] before he went professional,” Travolta said (via ScreenDaily.com). “I would play Vince Lomabrdi.”
Though there is no script or word of what studio would be backing the film, having Lombardi portrayed by the 58-year-old actor simply doesn't feel right.
For Travolta, this would be a stark contrast from the films the actor usually makes. Acclaimed for his theatrical portrayals and action films, Travolta's filmography is noticeably thin when it comes to sports movies.
To take Lombardi and adorn him on the big screen necessitates that the perfect man is playing the role. In 2010, when ESPN Films and the NFL were reportedly providing backing to a Lombardi-based biopic, Robert DeNiro was on board to play the Packers legend (via ESPN).
While that film seemingly lost steam in the pre-production phase, the network had the right idea with who to cast. DeNiro is a fiery, eccentric actor who could channel the Lombardi mannerisms and deliver a wonderful performance.
Even Dan Lauria, who got rave reviews for his portrayal of the Green Bay coach in Lombardi, a Broadway play based on the book When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss, would be a more sensical choice.
Travolta, on the other hand, elicits fear of a hammy performance that could submarine the film's integrity. While it would be great to see Lombardi honored in film for all of his accomplishments, Travolta simply isn't the right fit.