John Travolta back at Cannes Film Festival for new movie Gotti

The classic movie musical Grease will be screened on the beach of the French Riviera today to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Fittingly, its star John Travolta is back in Cannes promoting his new film Gotti, which was screened at a private presentation and opens here on June 28.

In 1978, the US actor, already a global sensation thanks to 1977's Saturday Night Fever, went to the Cannes Film Festival to promote Grease, another huge hit.

"The mid-point was Pulp Fiction, so it was 40 years, 20 years and now today," Travolta, 64, reminisced.

Quentin Tarantino's cult crime flick Pulp Fiction won the Cannes' Palme d'Or top prize in 1994, giving a second wind to Travolta's career.

In Gotti, which traces the epic rise and fall of the powerful Gambino crime clan of the 1980s, he plays John Gotti, the notorious New York mafia boss who died in 2002.

Travolta's real-life wife Kelly Preston co-stars as Gotti's wife Victoria and their daughter Ella Bleu was cast as Gotti's daughter Angel.

"He is very different from what I am and who I am and how I think and my values," Travolta said."It's a completely different person - that's something fun to play."

Getting the biopic made, he said, was far less fun.

The project first took root in 2011 when John Gotti Jr signed a deal to make a film about his father. But soon after Travolta agreed to play the lead role, it ran into obstacles, triggering a seemingly endless exodus of directors.

Shooting finally began two years ago under the direction of Kevin Connolly of Entourage fame. But the planned release in December last year was cancelled at the last minute.

"The challenges kept on knocking us down - different directors, different casts, different scripts," Travolta said.- REUTERS/AFP