John Travolta looked like an awestruck kid as he watched the dramatic unveiling of the new companion facility to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., where he was joined by political heavyweights (Vice President Dick Cheney, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist) and space pioneers (John Glenn and Neil Armstrong).
The actor and part-time pilot, 49, talked to PEOPLE about his love of aviation (he pilots his own Boeing 707) and his new home in Florida, which is in the world’s most exclusive fly-in community – likely the only one with a runway long enough for his 707. Travolta also dished the dirt on another project taking flight – reuniting with his Pulp Fiction costar Uma Thurman for Be Cool, the sequel to his 1995 hit Get Shorty.
What do you think of the new museum?
This is, like, so unbelievable for an aviator. I think it’s the most spectacular museum I’ve ever seen – all the best aviation artifacts of the last hundred years that were (previously) hidden away. I just want to put a home in the middle of this and live.
We hear you may have already done that. You just built a new home that has a runway?
I actually did do that. I say that, but I’ve really done it already, haven’t I? The whole house is dedicated to aviation.
And you can park your Boeing 707 and your Gulfstream jet right in the backyard?
How do your kids, Jett and Ella Bleu, like the new house?
They love it. My son flies in all the airplanes with me, as does my daughter. They cannot wait to get on the aircraft every time.
What’s Santa bringing to help decorate the new house?
An analog that has the times of the world that I’m going to post in the entry of my house – with, say, Hawaii, L.A., New York, Paris. And I want this airport departure/arrival schedule (sign).
Does all the airplane stuff go in one room of the house or is it throughout?
It’s throughout the house. The whole thing is ’60s modern, although the dining room is kind of a ’30s modern. We’re going to do the cover of Architectural Digest. It’s stunning.
On the work front, you’re reuniting with Uma Thurman for the sequel to Get Shorty. Is there a love scene with you two in Be Cool?
I think there is. It’s like the one with Renee Russo. We had a semi-love scene in (Get Shorty.)
That’s a nice job to have.
It’s always a nice job when Uma Thurman’s involved, or Renee Russo.
Does your wife (actress Kelly Preston) have any particular feelings about you doing love scenes?
She has the same feelings that I have with love scenes that she gets to do with others like Tom Cruise and you name it. It’s always an uncomfortable situation when you watch your spouse onscreen with someone else. So it’s just something we deal with.
This time your character, Chili Palmer, sets his sights on the music business after having made it as a Hollywood movie producer.
The music industry is eccentric, so there’s fun to be had in Chili tackling these oddballs.