May 13, 1999 12:00 AM

In his first singing role since 1978’s “Grease,” John Travolta is set to star as Jimmy Roselli — a crooner favored by the Mafia and then targeted for extinction when he turned his back on the mob — in “Standing Room Only,” to be directed by Gus Van Sant (the “Psycho” remake). The film starts shooting March 15, reports Variety. “He’ll be the ‘Raging Bull’ of lounge singers, but with the humor John brings to the role,” said Jonathan Krane, whose company is financing the movie, which will be distributed by Disney. “John will be singing the standards the way Roselli did … the mobsters’ wives, who loved him, saved Roselli’s life several times.” Of Travolta’s pipes, the moneyman added, “People might forget that John has a wonderful voice, did all his singing in ‘Grease,’ and recently sang with Carly Simon on her album.”

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