Though John Travolta has faced some high highs and lousy lows since Pulp Fiction revitalized his career — Battlefield Earth and Lucky Numbers were particularly rotten rolls of the dice — the 47-year-old screen icon still credits all his recent success to one man: Pulp auteur Quentin Tarantino.

"Quentin will always be my guardian angel," Travolta tells TV Guide Online. "He has a love for me that I can only remember my father and my mother having. Honestly, I've never known someone [else] who has loved my talent and wanted my career to survive [as much].

"I didn't know that Pulp was coming my way," he continues. "Quentin just wanted me to have it back again, so I could do the things that he felt I deserved to do or that the audiences would like to see. He just has this passion. It's touching really; it's a moving thing." And despite having racked up a few of those aforementioned box-office bombs since then, Travolta adds: "He trusts me. I make my own decisions and he's proud of me. So I always feel like he's there."

The actor doesn't rule out the possibility that moviegoers might someday see him reprise his role as Pulp hitman Vincent Vega — even though the character died an ignominious death at the hands of Bruce Willis, who blew him away on the commode. "It's always been a rumor," Travolta says, "but Quentin is so secretive about what he writes. It could be something new or it could be a prequel. You never know with Quentin, and that's okay."

Thrilled and clearly relieved that the audience "spontaneously broke out into applause" at a screening for his new technothriller, Swordfish (opening Friday), Travolta takes any career setbacks — and his share of the responsibility for them — on his dimpled-chin. "I'm not a victim," he says candidly. "It's like, if something bad happens to me, I must have done something."