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Deauville: John Travolta Receives Career Tribute at American Film Festival

UP: John Travolta
John Travolta

The Oscar-nominated actor delighted the audience by accepting the award in French.

DEAUVILLE -- When John Travolta shot 2010’s From Paris With Love, it seems he left the city with a little love too -- at least the French expression for it: “Je t’aime.” He bookended his brief speech accepting a career honor saying the phrase to the audience, throwing in a few sentences of thanks in the local tongue in between.

“Tonight I am honored to accept this grand prize for my career. Thank you, my friends, for your devotion -- my premier motivation and inspiration in continuing to make films,” he said in French, much to the delight of the crowd, who gave the actor a long standing ovation before a screening of the intense new thriller Killing Season that sees him facing off against Robert DeNiro.

The actor, who recalled getting the performing bug from growing up watching his mother and sisters in the theater, reflected on his long career.

“To be completely honest, it went beyond my dreams. I was hoping to make a living as an actor, just to survive as an actor, and it was some people who surrounded me, who believed it could be more than that, more than just a living,” he said at a press conference earlier in the day. “Then because of the imagination of writers and directors, I had this amazing opportunity to be many different characters and things. I knew I had the ability to do it, but I never thought I would have the opportunity to be allowed to do it by the audience and the studios.

“I like actors’ movies, those are my thing, and nowadays it’s more difficult to get them financed,” he said, noting that he sees Killing Season as having an anti-war message similar to the films he grew up with in the 60s and 70s. The studio system has also changed since then, he said.

“It’s very difficult in the United States to get a film like Killing Season financed because it’s more of an actor's movie, it’s more of a psychological movie. And even though it’s got action in it, it’s much more of a message movie. So you need companies that will be willing to finance special projects that mean something to the actors.”

While sidestepping questions about who he sees as his heir apparent in today's crop of young actors and who he'd want to play him in a biopic about his life, he said: “My future roles are in the imagination of writers and directors. Most of the roles in my career I never imagined I would play. But when someone came up with a good idea, I came to the game.”