Nobody can accuse John Travolta of not being gracious to his fans, whether it’s an autograph, a selfie or, you know, a home invasion or two.
“I’ve only had two people that actually invaded my house,” Travolta told Variety at the premiere of “The Fanatic” at the Egyptian Theater on Thursday night. “They were just people that wanted to meet me.” At least these encounters provided the veteran actor with insight into the celebrity stalker he portrays in his new movie. “I was scared the first time,” he admitted of his unexpected guest. “The second time there was such a gentle presence that came to the family dinner that I was just like: ‘Who are you? What are you doing here?’ But I’ve never had a problem with fans,” he added.
When you’ve been famous for as long as Travolta (“for so long that I’m in the Bible,” he joked, but it’s more like four decades), evidently you come to appreciate the people who buy tickets to your movies even if they lack boundaries. And he acknowledges that his use of social media is partly to blame. “I do have Instagram, so for the last year, I’ve been keeping people up with my personal life — and it’s been fabulous,” he said. “I only do things that are interesting to me. I won’t do something that I think would bore a person and that’s kind of fun, right? So the truth is that I’m out there.”
Reflecting on the symbiotic relationship between star and the starstruck, Travolta waxed philosophical. “It’s all about unrequited love, OK?” he said. “People love you and you want their love for you to be reflected back. But when they get disappointed, it’s so heartbreaking that it can like affect them for the rest of their life.”
Just ask Kirstie Alley, who seemed like the world’s biggest Limp Bizkit fan when she bumped into frontman Fred Durst on the red carpet. “You’re a genius!” she proclaimed before asking him to pose for a photo. “That was so wild,” said Durst, who directed and co-wrote ‘The Fanatic.’ “She’s dope.”
Needless to say, Durst didn’t disappoint his famous fan. And like Travolta, he’s had his share of celebrity stalkers. “I still have a couple,” he told Variety. “I befriend fans all the time that are a little obsessive.” As it turns out, the former rock star-turned-auteur based the screenplay on his own disappointing encounter with a pro wrestler he worshipped as a kid.
“One time when I was very little, we were in a gas station and one of the big wrestlers was there,” he recalled. “I remember walking up and saying something, but he was really rude and mean to me. It hurt my feelings.” Durst was also inspired by films about fans who take their adoration one step too far: “I’ve always loved ‘The King of Comedy,’ ‘Misery,’ ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.’ There’s something weird about people that have this obsessiveness about them.” Does he agree with Travolta’s theory about unrequited love? “I think that’s right,” Durst said. “There’s lots of layers. And there’s a lot of meaning here. Different meanings.”