John Travolta, left, plays Moose, and Devon Sawa the object of his obsession, in “The Fanatic,” a film by Fred Durst. (Courtesy Quiver Distribution)

John Travolta relates to ‘Fanatic’ title character

Acting vet joins forces with Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst

John Travolta is not only a fan of Limp Bizkit, he’s friends with the rap rock band’s frontman Fred Durst.

He also stars in Durst’s feature film directorial debut, a horror thriller called “The Fanatic,” opening Friday at the Roxie in The City.

He insists it’s not a slasher movie.

“It’s more than that. It’s got too much depth and pathos. It’s about inspecting one’s own urge to be a fan,” Travolta said during a recent visit to The City to promote the indie flick.

He adds, “Everyone has a bit of Moose in them,” describing his character, a fellow somewhere on the autism spectrum who goes too far in his obsession with his idol, an action-hero actor played by Devon Sawa.

“I wanted to portray this guy very badly, because I understood him extremely well,” adds Travolta, who immediately was attracted to the role — unlike anything else he’s played in his 45-year career — after reading the script.

It came to him awhile after he first met Durst at a gathering while promoting the 2004 film “Ladder 49,” which co-starred Durst’s friend Balthazar Getty.

Later, on a different social occasion, they ended up talking about movies for hours, and Durst mentioned he’d like to get into film and offer him material; Travolta was agreeable.

It took years, but he finally found something, says Travolta, who could see, from the over the-top Limp Bizkit videos “Nookie,” Break Stuff” and “Faith” Durst directed, that “there was a filmmaker there.”

Travolta’s also recently been a hit on video, enjoying notoriety for his appearance in Pitbull’s viral, nearly four-minute video for “3 to Tango,” filled with gyrating women. The final segment of the clip with Travolta dancing was so popular, it prompted yet another, shorter video showcasing mostly Travolta, who’s sporting a bald head, also inspired by Pitbull. (He says he likes how it looks and finds it easy.)

For now, Travolta — who says he realized he made it in show business after iconoclastic New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael extolled his acting in a review of “Saturday Night Fever” that made his manager cry – has one particular project to which he looks forward.

In the near future, he’d like to do a film, working with his 8-year-old son Benjamin, before he gets too old for the part, of “Propeller One-Way Night Coach,” a 1962-set novella he wrote about a young boy taking his first airplane rides during the arrival of the jet age.

He adds, “I really want him to do it. It’s really the only thing I’m interested in directing, because I wrote it and it means so much to me.”


The Fanatic

Starring: John Travolta, Devon Sawa, Ana Golja

Written by: Fred Durst, Dave Bekerman

Directed by: Fred Durst

Rated: R

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

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Affable John Travolta visited San Francisco to promote his new independent flick. (Leslie Katz/S.F. Examiner)

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