In “The 123 Subway Attack”, John Travolta lends his features to an enigmatic criminal who takes the passengers of a New York subway hostage. The actor was unable to promote Tony Scott’s film in 2009, preferring to stay with his loved ones to face a heavy ordeal.
Subway Attack 123: hostage-taking in New York basements
Two years later Already seen the late Tony Scott reunites with Denzel Washington for Subway Attack 123, his penultimate film. In this thriller released in 2009, the actor plays Walter Garber, a New York subway switchman. On a day like any other, as he prepares to leave his post, the employee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority notices that the Pelham 123 train is no longer moving.
Trying to understand the reasons for this blockage, Garber discovers that a certain Ryder (John Travolta) has taken the passengers of the train hostage. This seasoned criminal and his men demand a colossal sum and threaten to execute the travelers if it does not reach them. While the mayor of New York (James Gandolfini) and the authorities get busy, the switchman improvises himself as a negotiator to try to avoid the massacre.
Luis Guzmán, John Turturro, Aunjanue Ellis, and Michael Rispoli complete the cast of this second adaptation of the book The Underground Pirates by John Godey, published in 1973. The first, by Joseph Sargent, dates back to 1974. In this second version, Denzel Washington and John Travolta succeed Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw in the main roles.
John Travolta in mourning during promotion
On June 10, 2009, two days before the release of the feature film in the United States, the star of grease and pulp Fiction publish a press release on its website. In the latter, the actor explains to his fans that he cannot promote Subway Attack 123preferring to stay with his family, then in full mourning. A few months earlier, on January 2, 2009, the young Jett Travolta, eldest son of the actor and his partner Kelly Preston, died at the age of sixteen.
While the family is staying at a hotel in the Bahamas, the teenager’s body is found dead in the bathroom of his bedroom. He was later pronounced dead at Freeport Hospital, according to information from 20 minutes. Quoted by the magazine People Michael Ossi, the actor’s lawyer then explains:
All attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. John tried everything to resuscitate his son. He gave her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for more than ten minutes until help arrived.
A villain like no other
Suffering from Kawasaki syndrome, the young boy would have succumbed to a heart attack. If he is therefore unable to ensure the promotion of Subway Attack 123John Travolta assures about his participation in the film:
Tony (Scott) gave me the freedom to define and then become the ultimate evil mastermind. This role gave me the chance to ignore all moral and ethical boundaries, and explore just how bad this character could really be.
Tony Scott says about the performance of the comedian and the character of Ryder, during an interview for Collider :
He is dangerous, gentle and intelligent. As a villain, he brings a contradiction. (…) He is funny, he is clever and he has a big heart. This goes against what is usually expected of villains.