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McEric chats with KELLAN LUTZ about SPEED KILLS, starring JOHN TRAVOLTA

McEric Chats with Kellan Lutz about SPEED KILLS, starring JOHN TRAVOLTA


Howdy, y’all! McEric here to tell you about a new film in theaters and Video On Demand today called SPEED KILLS, starring John Travolta and Kellan Lutz. SPEED KILLS tells the fascinating “based on a true story” tale of millionaire and speedboat king Ben Aronoff, based on the very real and fascinating millionaire and speedboat king Don Aronow, in case you’d care to do your own research. Personally, I’m never one to let the truth get in the way of a good story, and SPEED KILLS provides a pretty darn good story.



The film opens with Tom Sizemore in some of the best leisure pants I’ve seen on camera in a minute, sweating profusely and speaking in riddles. Already, I’m hooked. John Travolta is an office nearby and grabs a heavy revolver in his hand as he inches towards the door. He emerges in the room wherein Sizemore is gesticulating wildly and coolly walks over to him. He is resplendent. His makeup is perfect, if not a little heavy. He creases his mouth into a straight line, turns it down a tad at the corners, and delivers a confident missive that finds his aggressor shrinking and slinking away. This is going to be a badass Travolta flick.


A minute later he’s dead. I’m not spoiling anything; the movie is called SPEED KILLS.


I thoroughly enjoyed this film, more than I expected to, and was delighted when I got the opportunity to chat with co-star Kellan Lutz about it on the phone earlier this week. Right away, we both took to gushing about John Travolta. He’s truly great in this movie. His charm is resonant, and he’s got plenty to spare. Even as the flawed and genuinely unlikeable Aronoff, he’s got charisma to spare.


“[working with] John Travolta’s always been on my bucket list. He’s just such an interesting— I’ve really been blessed with working with a lot of iconic actors, especially from EXPENDABLES 3, and now working with John... He’s just a really interesting actor and brilliant with his choices. He’s a family man; you know, his family was out there and he invited me to his home. He was really accessible with the improv we had. He’s just really cool. It’s really cool to work with an iconic actor who also loves what he does. And he does.”


Lutz plays Robbie Reemer, cousin to famous mobster Meyer Lansky, played with choking aplomb by James Remar. Robbie is introduced in the film as a young man perving on Aronoff’s daughter while trying to emulate the man, himself. When asked why he admires him so much, his response is “Because Ben Aronoff’s got everything.” When we next see Robbie, he is less enamored with this truth than he is envious, and bitter. They become rivals and, ultimately, enemies. Playing opposite John Travolta can appear intimidating onscreen, but to hear Lutz tell it, he’s the best enemy you’d ever want to have.



“I love doing action shots. Even though we only had one take with [a scene wherein Aronoff shoves the cocky young Reemer into the bay]. John is such a sensitive man, which is why he’s such a brilliant actor, he’s such a feeler, so emotionally present, so he pushes me and I go flying and I’m loving it. Immediately after he’s like ‘Are you okay? Kellan? You alright? You need anything?’ He’s just so caring! I don’t think I’ve had anyone care that much for me! Other actors would just push me in and walk straight to their chair; they could care less if I drowned or came back up, so it really showed his true character. I would work with him again in a heartbeat.”


SPEED KILLS is based on the book of the same name by true-crime novelist Arthur Jay Harris and directed by Jodi Scurfield. Its supporting cast includes Katheryn Winnick, Jennifer Esposito (CRASH, TV’s “Spin City”), Matthew Modine (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, FULL METAL JACKET) (who is given minimal makeup and is passed off as Vice President [at the time] George H.W. Bush), Michael Weston {GARDEN STATE, STATE OF PLAY) as Aronoff’s beleaguered attorney, and Amaury Nolasco (TRANSFORMERS, MAX PAYNE) as the dogged DEA agent sniffing around Don’s ties with the mafia. The film is available to be experienced as VR, lending an extra layer of engrossment to its scenes of high-speed boat racing in torrential storms. And, according to Lutz’s pitch, showering with an action star.


“Uh, well, I have a shower scene in there. I mean, that’s all you need to know, right? And I think that scene is in VR, too, so that should be pretty enticing, yeah?”


And, of course, since I had him on the line, I had to ask about He-Man.



“I know that Adam [& Aaron] Nee is doing the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE. I just got back to town, and he’s storyboarding it right now, and I want to meet with him. I really, honestly, just want to meet the guy; I’m a fan of his work. When I saw he was posting some of the storyboard on Instagram I immediately reached out to my team and said ‘hey, let’s get a meeting on the books sometime with Adam and get that happening.’ So I’m hoping that happens soon.”


Lutz will next appear in the Taraji P Henson vehicle WHAT MEN WANT, a twist on the Mel Gibson comedy WHAT WOMEN WANT, hitting theaters in February.


SPEED KILLS is out in select theaters and Video on Demand today, and is worth the watch in my opinion. Travolta is dynamic, Lutz is truly menacing (I was never sure at any moment when he was on screen what his character would do), the period costumes are a hoot, and the historical significance is a story not well-known but truly fascinating. Directorially, the film takes some chances that really pay off with scene transitions and lighting choices. Aronoff is a sleaze, a shit parent, a lousy husband, an avatar of greed and vice and impulsive decisions; but he’s also Travolta so you just can’t take your eyes off of him. Seriously, it’s a fun watch.


Many thanks to Kellan Lutz for chatting with me, and from all of us here at AICN, it is our sincere hope that “You have the Power!!!”


Until next time, see you at the movies.





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