John Travolta doesn't seem the type to stew in past regrets, torturing himself with what-ifs. Of course, that's what we at TV Guide Online are here for! Turns out, the ex-disco king could have razzle-dazzled in Richard Gere's spats in the blockbuster hit, Chicago! Too bad he rejected the juicy role of shady lawyer Billy Flynn three times.
"I would have never thought Chicago could have worked, when I saw it on stage," Travolta confesses. "It was never pitched to me; I never met with anyone. They just offered it, and offered it again. My research was to go see the show, and each time I saw the show, I thought, 'Well, how are they going to do this?' I couldn't figure it out.
"That's where I needed a director's vision, to say, 'No, no, no, don't worry about that. What we're going to do with this number is this, and it will move into this...'" The Grease star says he was approached both before and after the now Oscar-nominated Rob Marshall was attached to direct. "Then, I heard Rob and the producers were so disappointed [I'd said no]. I said, 'But why didn't you ask for the meeting to explain the movie to me?'"
Well, one star's loss is another's gain. Gere clearly is happy he took the risk, which has earned him Golden Globe and SAG trophies this year. Coincidentally, Travolta long ago turned down the leads in American Gigolo and An Officer and a Gentleman — films that established Gere's status as the sex icon of the '80s. (Yeah, we don't see the resemblance between the two aging studs, either.)
Meanwhile, Travolta — who plays a DEA agent in Basic (opening March 28) — is hungry for his piece of the movie-musical action. "I think there's a short window of opportunity, where musicals are popular with the studios," he says. "A remake of An American in Paris is what I'd like to do, but people feel like it's too much of a classic. Maybe take Pal Joey and turn it into a Scorcese-type musical, or even Guys and Dolls."
Travolta's not the only star with his eye on Guys and Dolls. Read our scoop on Vin Diesel's big-screen plans for the musical in Friday's Insider!