John Travolta Once Turned Down a Role That Earned Denzel Washington an Oscar-Nom Because He Thought It Was ‘Silly’

John Travolta has built a respectable career for himself over the years. The actor has been immortalized by starring in iconic movies such as Pulp Fiction and Grease. But despite this, there are a couple of roles Travolta’s missed out on that ended up benefitting other actors.

One such role went to Denzel Washington, who scored an Oscar nomination for his performance.

John Travolta once regretted turning down ‘Chicago’

John Travolta smiling while wearing a turtle neck.
John Travolta | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for ABA

Turning down roles that garnered other actors critical acclaim isn’t new for John Travolta. The star has owned up to quite a few misses when it comes to rejecting quality characters. As some know, he was once sought for the role of Forrest Gump, a character that won Tom Hanks an Oscar.

MTV News once asked Travolta if he had any regrets about passing up these kinds of roles.

“No, because if I didn’t do something Tom Hanks did, then I did something else that was equally interesting or fun. Or if I didn’t do something Richard Gere did, I did something equally well. But I feel good about some I gave up because other careers were created,” he answered.

The Richard Gere mention was in reference to the film Chicago, a project that also enjoyed acclaim and praise. Travolta was at one point up for a spot in the film that later went to Gere after he turned it down. However, the actor wished he looked at Chicago a bit more than he did.

“Probably the one I didn’t explore enough is Chicago. Harvey Weinstein offered it to me three times,” Travolta told Entertainment Tonight (via Hollywood.) “I never met with the director (Rob Marshall), because I thought the play was about a bunch of women who hated men. And I like women who like men. I already have the two biggest musicals in history, it would’ve been fun to have the top three.”

Why John Travolta turned away from Denzel Washington’s ‘Flight’

John Travolta ended up turning down another celebrated role in Flight. The 2012 film was led by Denzel Washington, with the character earning the actor his fourth Oscar nomination. Before this, Washington hadn’t been nominated for the best actor Oscar since Training Day, which came out 11 years prior to Flight.

But Washington may have Travolta to thank for the role. Speaking at a British Film Institute in London, Travolta revealed there were many things he enjoyed about Flight’s script.

“The funny thing was it was written for me. But it was not written well enough yet – the plane stuff, not the character. I loved that he was an alcoholic and I loved his journey a lot,” Travolta said according to Express.

However, the cons of Flight eventually outweighed the pros.

“But the plane stuff was silly, from my perspective. Flying upside down – it’s a bit much. I just wanted those bits to get redone,” he elaborated. “I asked the writer, ‘Did you not ask a professional or someone who knew something?’ And he said, ‘I didn’t want any interference – I just wanted the screenplay done. To hell with that stuff!’”

Denzel Washington gave up alcohol for ‘Flight’

When Denzel Washington got the role, he committed to the part so much that he made certain sacrifices for the performance. One of those sacrifices involved the two-time Oscar-winner giving up drinking.

“We’ve all tied one on,” Washington once told The Hollywood Reporter. “But if I had been drinking while I was shooting, it’d be harder to stay disciplined, just to get up in the morning. You are a little more hungover, grouchier. I knew this was an excellent opportunity and a really good story. So it was something I wanted to do right.”

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