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Travolta recalls near-death experience

John Travolta says a near-death experience he had while piloting a plane in 1992 inspired him to take on his role in the new Disney+ short film “The Shepherd.”

“The Shepherd” tells the story of a young pilot attempting to land safely after experiencing electrical failure mid-air. The premise is eerily similar to what Travolta, a licensed pilot, said he experienced back in 1992.

Recalling the incident during a Q&A in London on Thursday, according to Variety, Travolta shared that he “experienced a total electrical failure” in a jet that he was piloting while flying over Washington D.C. with his family.

“I knew what it felt like to absolutely think you’re going to die,” he said. “I had two good jet engines but I had no instruments, no electric, nothing. And I thought it was over.”

He ultimately made a safe landing “as if by a miracle,” he said. It’s why Travolta was drawn to “The Shepherd,” which is based on Frederick Forsyth’s 1975 book of the same.

In the short film, Travolta plays a good samaritan who guides a young pilot (Ben Radcliffe) to safety after he finds himself “in peril when his radio and electric power cut out, leaving him stranded and running on limited fuel,” according to an official synopsis.

Travolta said Radcliffe “captured that despair when you think you’re actually going to die.”

The “Pulp Fiction” actor said the story of “The Shepherd” deeply resonated with him because it’s about “life and death and how precious life is.”

“The Shepherd” will be available to stream on Disney+ on December 1.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports |


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