John Travolta on the best script never produced...until now

They've known each other since the 1970s, but John Travolta and Robert De Nirohave never appeared in a film together. That's about to change.

The two actors are starring in the upcoming action drama, "Killing Season," which takes a look at the long-lasting effects war can leave on the soldiers who fought in it.

Travolta plays a Serbian veteran of the Bosnian War who tracks down an American soldier, played by Robert De Niro, in the Appalachian Mountains.

Some of the film's subject matter bears similarities to Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July" and the classic story, "The Most Dangerous Game."

Travolta spoke about his latest project at a recent New York screening of the film:

CBSNEWS.COM: You had a hand in bringing in Mr. De Niro?

JOHN TRAVOLTA: I did. This was a very special film. It was on what they call a blacklist. Which means something positive. It means that it's the best written script that had not been produced. And I got a hold of it. We found financiers. I asked Robert if he'd join me and he said yes. I told him I was playing the Serbian. He'd be the American. And he was fine with that. And we went to town and had a blast discovering our characters.

CBSNEWS.COM: I was surprised to learn this was your first time working together.

TRAVOLTA: Yeah, I've known him since the mid-70s...I would rather it been now with a great script than to just throw it away with some other more superficial thing or something. You know he's a great actor. I want to be with him in a part that means something in a story that means something. And that's what happened.

CBSNEWS.COM: What is it about the story that appealed to you?

TRAVOLTA: Well, I felt like it was an essay on war. I felt it was a message that we don't see in movies anymore. Maybe in 'Coming Home' or 'Born on the Fourth of July.' That war is not the answer. I liked that. Because it's not. But you have to examine how people are suffering through the adverse effects of this. In our characters' minds, they've also been guilty of war crimes so they're even more complicated. So you've got two complicated people here. And it's good to examine that because that is often what we produce when we produce war.

CBSNEWS.COM: Your character has so many different layers to him. At first, you think he's a tourist, but really he's...

TRAVOLTA: Yes, he's in disguise basically. Because he knows that the De Niro character won't remember him. He's going to remind him quickly and through a series of events he finally does. You have this very intense story. The action in it is so mixed with verbiage. We're telling each other what's on our minds as we're trying to kill each other, which is what they were kind of trained to do.

CBSNEWS.COM: What about shooting in Appalachia, what was that like?

TRAVOLTA: It's so beautiful there. It's really a revelation. This is as pretty as any place in the world. I was pleasantly surprised. Believe it or not, I hadn't been there. But I couldn't believe in our own country, we had something so breathtaking. And I think the film reveals that too.

"The Killing Season" opens in theaters on July 12.

  • Ken Lombardi On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.

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