March 25, 1998 12:00 AM

He might have tanked big time in last year’s “Battlefield Earth,” but John Travolta, 47, isn’t shy about meeting the press. On a publicity tour to promote his latest, a high-tech thriller called “Swordfish,” the ever-boyish actor was asked by PEOPLE whether or not fatherhood has affected his decisions to take on certain roles. (Travolta and his wife of nearly 10 years, actress Kelly Preston, have two children: son Jett, born in 1992, and daughter Ella Blue, in 2000.) “No,” said Travolta, “it changes you in other ways, like, instead of flying a single engine jet, you want to fly a twin-engine jet . . . I’m kidding. But you want to protect yourself more because you want to be around for them.” Travolta says that he now avoids some of the riskier aspects of his favorite activities, including flying and car-racing. He also looks for scripts with a strong emotional component. ” ‘Phenomenon,’ ‘Michael,’ ‘Look Who’s Talking.’ They’re all sentimental. I’ve always liked that. Obviously I have this other side which people like to see.” Next after “Swordfish,” in which Travolta plays a spy who battles computer hackers, the leading man is due in “Domestic Disturbance” (which made news earlier this year when costars Steve Buscemi and Vince Vaughn got into a disturbance at a bar near the set). “That’s scary,” Travolta said of the movie, “but it has a lot of emotion.”

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