Although the film Grease is over 40 years old, the relationship between Danny Zuko (played by John Travolta) and Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) lives on as one of the greats. In a new video interview with Us Weekly, Newton-John, 72, joined by her daughter Chloe Lattanzi, 35, recalled her on-screen smooches with Travolta.
“It was at the beach — actually the opening scene of the movie,” which fans will remember as the montage of Danny and Sandy’s summer romance. “It was a beautiful day,” added Newton-John. “We were playing around in the water, and I don’t really remember exactly, but it was a very lovely day and an exciting moment because it was the start of the film, although everything was kind of out of order, but we did that. That was the first time we had kissed.”
Newton-John, who hardly knew Travolta at the time, admitted she was apprehensive before shooting the scene. “I was nervous of course,” she said. “I remember just before that we were sitting on a rock and it’s actually in the movie that these waves broke over us. These rogue waves came in. And I can’t remember if that was before or after that because my hair was perfect. So maybe it was after that. But it was a very special day and it was really a nice way to get to know John a little bit because we hadn’t spent all that much time together. We had some rehearsal time and dance time and stuff, but this was our first acting day. It was lovely. It was special.”
In the 43 years since Grease was filmed, Newton-John and Travolta have remained close, attending a Grease reunion together and releasing a 2012 Christmas album. Those proceeds benefitted the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre and the Jett Travolta Foundation for children with special needs in honor of Travolta’s late son who died in 2009. The two even co-starred in the 1983 film Two of a Kind.
The “Physical” singer had nothing but praise for working with her long-time friend. “John is a lovely, sweet man,” she told Us Weekly. “And he made all my acting experiences really easy. He was very thoughtful and encouraged me if he thought I wasn’t doing a good enough job.” Newton-John also remembered one Grease scene in particular, when the couple meets at a bonfire, that Travolta “deliberately messed up” so that she could try it again. She recalls him whispering, “I know you can do it better,” and gave her the opportunity to redo the scene. “That was just a sample of his generosity as an actor,” she said.
Newton-John recently launched the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund for research into plant-based medicine. The actress has been diagnosed with cancer three times, the first time in 1992 and most recently in 2018, and has relied heavily on plant-based medicines in her own life. In addition to her foundation work, she continues her musical career and just released a new duet, “Window in the Wall,” with her daughter. Lattanzi
As for kissing Travolta, or other scene-partners for that matter, Newton-John says she doesn’t have a preparation strategy. “You just do it. And you’re the character,” she said. “You’re playing a character.”
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