by Emily Farache
Oct 18, 2000, 3:15 PM PT
Has John Travolta been possessed by the ghost of L. Ron Hubbard?
What else could explain the erstwhile Sweathog's announced desire to do a sequel to the universally reviled Battlefield Earth, the sci-fi turkey that bombed the box office this summer.
During this week's junket for his latest film, the comedy Lucky Numbers, Travolta was asked whether there would be a Battlefield Earth 2, to which he replied: "Sure. Yeah."
"The bottom line is that I feel really good about it. Here I was taking big chances, breaking a new genre," said Travolta, who claimed the flick has become a, um, cult hit on the Net and is gaining an audience overseas. The video and DVD are also expected to be out in time for the holidays.
Regarded as one of the worst films ever committed to celluloid, and the leading candidate to sweep the Golden Raspberry Awards, aka the anti-Oscars, Battlefield Earth was a labor of love for Travolta, who said he always dreamed of making the film.
"The book stood for something classic and this [sequel] hopefully will too," Travolta added.
Based on the 1980 book by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, Battlefield Earth starred Travolta as the leader of a manipulative race of giant, badly coiffed aliens bent on world dominance. Travolta also produced the film that he said took 15 years to persuade studios to make.
When it was released in May, critics practically ran out of bad things to say about the film. "Sitting through it is like watching the most expensively mounted high school play of all time," opined The New York Times. The Washington Post called it "cretinous" and USA Today said it was "deeply dumb, depressingly derivative."
But Travolta says the bad notices and worse box-office weren't going to dissuade him from trying again.
"I am so thrilled, believe it or not, at the outcome because I didn't believe I could get it done," an upbeat Travolta said, according to Reuters, adding that critics had a history of disliking sci-fi movies.
"When I felt better about everything was when George Lucas and Quentin Tarantino and a lot of people that I felt knew what they were doing, saw it and thought it was a great piece of science fiction.
"My whole career has been based on trying something new. If I don't try something new, I worry," he said.
New doesn't mean bad, John.
Speaking of bad, er, new, Travolta's long-delayed and once-renmaed Lucky Numbers, which costars Lisa Kudrow, comes out October 27. It's a dark comedy in which he plays a dumb local television weatherman who plans a state lottery scam.