John Travolta Recalls When He “Thought It Was Over” During Near-Death Experience
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A frightening experience in John Travolta’s past inspired him to take his latest movie role.
John Travolta is starring in a new Disney+ short film titled The Shepherd. The film, which is based on Frederick Forsyth’s 1975 novel by the same name, tells the story of a young Royal Air Force pilot flying home for Christmas. Shortly into the journey, he comes face to face with death as his Vampire jet suffers a total electrical failure. A mysterious pilot (played by Travolta) appears in the sky to guide the young man to safety.
In an interview with Variety, Travolta revealed that it was his own brush with death that made him feel drawn to the film. The actor, who has his pilot’s license in real life, experienced a near-miss plane crash in 1992 and in the 30 years since, has not discussed it publicly. Travolta was piloting a Gulfstream II from Florida to Maine for Thanksgiving when the terrifying incident occurred. Travolta recalled:
“I actually experienced a total electrical failure, not in a Vampire but in a corporate jet over Washington D.C. I knew what it felt like to absolutely think you’re going to die. I had two good jet engines but I had no instruments, no electric, nothing. And I thought it was over.”
“And then as if by a miracle, we descended as per the rules to a lower altitude. I saw that Washington D.C. monument and identified that Washington National Airport was right next to it and I made a landing just like [Freddie] does in the film.”
Travolta almost collided with another aircraft in mid-air.
Although Travolta was able to miraculously land safely, damaging only the jet’s tires in the process, a safety investigation later determined the electrical failure had almost caused Travolta’s plane to collide mid-air with a Boeing 747. This resulted in flights being temporarily suspended across four airports.
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Despite the near-death experience, the acclaimed actor continued flying and even purchased his own de Havilland Vampire jet. When he stumbled upon The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth, Travolta immediately resonated with the story and saw his own life experience in the tale. As a result, creating the film has been a goal of his for nearly 30 years, and that dream will become reality as the film is set to premiere on December 1, 2023.
See the trailer for The Shepherd below!