Wind whips during the debut of spy thriller From Paris With Love held Thursday in NYC, but stars John Travolta, with wife Kelly Preston, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, with girlfriend Reena Hammer, aren’t phased. Smoke begins pouring into the tent as the gang chats with friends, and eight security guards hold up metal poles that are about to collapse.
Never fear: It’s time to head into Ziegfeld Theatre for the festivities.
Fresh from a humanitarian mission to Haiti, John is in great spirits. He’s a real movie star like George Clooney, who stops, listens and thoughtfully responds. With Kelly by his side, the lovebirds are ready with answers for everything, which must be difficult considering son Jett died tragically one year ago at the age of 16.
What’s the most romantic thing John has done?
“Getting engaged in Gstaad, Switzerland, was pretty romantic,” he says.
Kelly adds, “He had gotten the ring and did it at the stroke of midnight. That was very romantic.”
The proud parents couldn’t be happier with nine-year-old daughter Ella Bleu following in their footsteps with an acting career.
“She wants to do something with animals next,” John says.
Kelly adds, “She loves horses.”
John says, “I’m so proud of her. She kicked ass in Old Dogs.”
Of course, John doesn’t restrict compliments to relatives. Of co-star Jonathan, John says, “He’s the best. He’s so talented and smart.”
Hugh Jackman, with wife Deborra-Lee Furness, has his priorities in order. “I’m seeing the boys, seeing a movie, hanging out,” he says in his Aussie accent.
Here comes Mr. Rhys Meyers, who is kind as always. He takes off his glasses for the TV cameras, and I catch him careening on his tip-toes. What?! He’s also wearing high-heeled boots. Still, he’s a true movie star, and game for everything.
In fact, girlfriend Reena is wearing her holiday swag tonight.
“We went to Christian Louboutin at Christmas and went crazy,” the Irish actor says.
“They’re on my feet right now,” the beauty says, basking in the heat. (She was shivering outside.)
What surprised him about Mr. Travolta?
“You imagine how people are and then you work with them, and obviously they’re going to be different,” Jonathan tells me. “He’s an incredibly nice guy. Sometimes you’re shocked. I find the more successful – the bigger stars that I work with, the nicer they are.”
Jonathan has high praise for the Grease icon’s mission to Haiti.
“That’s who he is as a person,” he says. “He wasn’t doing it because ‘hey, I’m a movie star and I’ve got an airplane. Let me fly down here and give you guys something.’ He did it because he’s John. And that’s just who he is. I wasn’t surprised.”
Co-star Richard Durden shares a fun moment with J.T.
“He said to me, ‘the thing that really surprises me about English actors is that they do it when they’re so old.’ I say, ‘we have to do it because we have to live, Mr. Travolta.’ He said, ‘no, but you go on doing it until you’re 80 and 90. Look at Gielgud and all these people.’ I was surprised he was fun. He wasn’t bland at all. He was very inclusive. He was funny.”
Co-star Kasia Smutniak agrees.
“The first day on set, he presented himself to everyone – not just actors, but drivers. He was there saying ‘hi, I’m John.’ Everybody was like ‘I can’t believe this.’ That was very nice.”
As Jonathan and Reena escalator up to the theater, he waves and flashes a peace sign. Aw!
From Paris With Love hits theaters February 5.