If there are two characters you wouldn’t want to be alone with in the woods, they most certainly would be those played by John Travolta and Robert De Niro in “Killing Season,” about two army vets who’re haunted by their actions in the Bosnian War.
Travolta and helmer Mark Steven Johnson screened Millennium’s action thriller June 20 at Gotham’s Sunshine Landmark Cinema, where Travolta walked the red carpet with his 13-year-old daughter, Ella Bleu.
In addition to bloody cheek lacerations, Travolta’s Serbian soldier sports a thick chinstrap, which could top his unusual facial manscaping in films like “Battlefield Earth” and “Swordfish.”
“I went to Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia, and I interviewed lots of ex-soldiers, and a lot of them had variations of what you see,” Travolta said of his unique facial hair in the film. “Because Bobby and I are such famous Americans, I thought it would be really good to define (my character) separately, with the accent, with the way I looked, the way I walked and talked, and not make him anyway near American behavior.”
Pre-screening, Johnson told the Landmark crowd, “John has so much enthusiasm for acting. The first thing he said to me was, ‘I want to take chances.’ So that set the tone for all of us, to make something unique, to make something different for all of us.”
Johnson called the film something of a throwback. At the Jazz Room afterparty, the helmer noted, “There are no robots, no superheroes and no monsters in this film. I’ve made my superhero movies and I’ve made my comedies, and this was my chance to make something that was really about something, and in this case it’s kind of an anti-war film. I hope this film will affect people and they’ll realize that war is not the answer. It destroys peoples’ lives, and we’re seeing it now with people coming back from Afghanistan with PTSD, so I think it’s a strong theme and I think it’s particularly relevant today.”
De Niro did not attend the premiere. He was in Israel celebrating President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday.