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Travolta, mourning son's death, bypasses publicity for film

  • Story Highlights
  • John Travolta releases statement on his Web site about "The Taking of Pelham 123"
  • Travolta, still mourning son's death, praised colleagues for "unselfish efforts"
  • Travolta's son Jett died in January during family vacation
By Alan Duke
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- John Travolta, still in mourning over the death of his teenage son earlier this year, issued a rare public statement urging fans to see his latest movie, "The Taking of Pelham 123," which he filmed last year.

John Travolta stars as a villainous ex-inmate in "The Taking of Pelham 123," which opens in theaters Friday.

John Travolta stars as a villainous ex-inmate in "The Taking of Pelham 123," which opens in theaters Friday.

"I promise, you won't be disappointed," said Travolta, who plays a deranged ex-inmate who takes hostages on a New York subway.

Travolta did not join co-star Denzel Washington in the promotional tour for the movie -- which hits theaters Friday -- because he said his family needed "additional time to reconcile our loss."

His son Jett, 16, was found unconscious on January 2 while on vacation with his family in the Bahamas. The teen was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, local police said.

Washington, who plays a subway train dispatcher forced to face down Travolta's character, said he talked to the actor about three weeks ago.

"Needless to say, he's struggling," Washington said in an interview last week.

Travolta's statement, which can be read on his official Web site, said Washington, director Tony Scott and the producers "stepped up without hesitation to help promote this wonderful film, and their unselfish efforts have allowed my family the additional time to reconcile our loss."

Making the movie was "a labor of love," Travolta said.

"Tony gave me the freedom to define, and then to become, the ultimate evil mastermind," he said. "This role as an actor gave me the chance to dispense with all moral and ethical limitations, and explore just how bad this character could really be. I believe you will like the result."

Much of the movie is a dialogue between Washington and Travolta's character over a two-way radio.

Many of the action shots were filmed in New York subway tunnels.

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