John Travolta totally gets 'The Fanatic'

Posted August 27, 2019 2:54 p.m. EDT

— Ask John Travolta who he is a fan of and one name might surprise you.


Yes, the Latino rapper/songwriter/producer/entrepreneur who makes those infectious dance tunes.

That Pitbull.

"He's a real humanitarian, like Paul Newman was," Travolta told CNN. "And he's a beautiful performer. He's got it going on and when he gets up there everybody responds to him."

Fans and fandom are on the actor's mind lately, given that his latest film "The Fanatic" delves into the dark side of it all.

Travolta plays Moose, a character who becomes obsessed with action star Hunter Dunbar (played by Devon Sawa).

What follows is a thriller tinged with a bit of horror.

Travolta said he understands both sides of the coin when it comes to being a fan and a celebrity. "I fell in love with Moose cause you know, at my core, I'm a fan and I love being a fan of artists," he said. "I think we all have a little bit of Moose in us."

Travolta said Moose was written with him in mind thanks to the film's director, Fred Durst, who co-wrote the movie.

Yes, that Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit fame.

Travolta said Moose -- who he views as being on the autism spectrum -- crosses a line partly because he can't understand why Dunbar is mistreating him.

That mistreatment of someone who worships him, Travolta said, makes Dunbar a bad celebrity.

So what makes for a good celebrity?

"Someone who understands that they are," Travolta said. "And who doesn't punish people for not being famous."

He said he's had fans take things a bit too far before, but none of them have meant any harm as far as he's concerned.

Travolta said playing a man so enamored of a celeb was "as far as my acting journey, probably the most fun I've ever had as an actor."

I was completely absorbing myself in this guy," Travolta said. "I looked forward to it and the crew did too. You know you have a character that's working when the crew can't wait till the character gets on the set."

At this point the 65-year-old has been fully indoctrinated into stardom.

He was fairly young in the 1970s when he burst onto the small screen in the hit comedy series "Welcome Back Kotter" which led to bigger success in the films "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease."

He said it still sometimes shocks him as to how famous he has become.

"I make a mistake at the Oscars. I mispronounce a name and I get headlines and it's still surprising," said Travolta, who added that he was also taken aback by by how much attention his shaving his head at the beginning of the year received.

That fame comes in handy for things like a project he's working on with his "Grease" co-star, Olivia Newton-John.

Travolta said they are in close contact and planning to do something together to help raise money for her cancer research foundation.

Newton-John has stage 4 cancer and is battling the disease for the third time.

"We are thinking of doing some meet and greets to raise money because she's up for it now," Travolta said. "She's amazing."

There's also another star Travolta finds amazing and who he's done some work with.

Remember him being a big fan of Pitbull?

Well Miami-based rapper not only composed the music for Travolta's film "Gotti," the actor stars in Pitbull's latest music video for his single "3 to Tango."

Travolta fit right in with his now bald head.

"(Pitbull) had sent me a photograph superimposed with the bald head," Travolta said of his decision to go hairless on top. "I looked at it and I thought 'That doesn't look so bad.' At the new year I said to the family 'What do you think?' and they said 'Go for it.'"