SKY HIGH - Q&A with KELLY PRESTON
Movie Interview by Elaine Lipworth
Kelly Preston stars as a highflying super-mom with extraordinary superpowers in the exciting new family film SKY HIGH. As Jetstream, she soars into the stratosphere, saving the world with her super strong husband, The Commander. But she is also mother to a teenage boy who is expected to follow in his glamorous parents' footsteps. The problem is: the teenager doesn't seem to have inherited any powers at all and is attending SKY HIGH an amazing, secret school for the children of superheroes.
Kelly Preston provides warmth and humanity in this exciting and very funny film. She plays the mother of a teenage boy who is struggling to find his way in life, in the face of extraordinary challenges. Will Stronghold's parents are the world's most celebrated super heroes.
Set in a high school in which exceptional kids learn to become the superheroes of tomorrow, ostensibly this is a fun packed family film, complete with plenty of action, comedy and special effects. But it is also much more. The film takes an insightful look at family life and the pressures facing children who are often expected to live up to their parent's high expectations.
As 'Jetstream', Kelly Preston is a world famous superhero who has the power to fly, but by day as her alter ego, Josie Stronghold, she and Kurt Russell who plays 'The Commander' are realtors and ordinary parents of a teenage boy whom they adore. "I loved playing Josie because she can fly fast and she is extremely strong," enthuses the actress. "When I put on the boots, the cape and my whole superhero outfit as Jetstream, I felt like a superhero, it was great. I like the idea of a mom who has to fight crime and raise a son at the same time."
Kelly Preston sparkles as Jetstream/Josie, showing her comedic talent and emotional range. She displays her action skills and athleticism in some impressive stunts.
The accomplished actress has starred in numerous films including JERRY MAGUIRE and THE CAT IN THE HAT. Her recent films include RETURN TO SENDER and EULOGY.
Preston is married to John Travolta and the couple have two children, Jett, 13 and Ella 5. They are based in Florida but also spend time at their home in Los Angeles.
Chatting to the actress in Los Angeles, she is radiant and friendly wearing a simple brown sleeveless top and jeans. She has large gold hoop earrings and her hair is loose and shoulder length. Preston talks with a refreshing openness about the film and her own life as a wife and mother.
It must be fun doing a Disney film that your children can watch?
This is a great family film that I can take my kids to. I had a lot of fun doing it. I want to do films that my kids and other kids can enjoy that are upbeat and action packed - films that you can share with your family.
What was it that you liked about the film?
I thought it was such a unique concept to play parents who happen to be super heroes and have a son who is going through puberty and starting high school. I thought that the messages in this movie were so great. We all went through those high school experiences through the teenage years, having to find out where we fit in. We experienced the cliques, the attempts to make the right decisions, how to keep our integrity. The film examines friendship. Will your friends still love you even if you make mistakes? One of the messages is that anybody can be a hero and this film is full of great messages. I think that adds so much. And I think that just adds so much to the entertainment, is fun and it is light and is upbeat.
Can you explain a little about your character? It seems that like most mothers she's doing a skilful balancing act, trying to be a good mother and dealing with two demanding careers?
I'm a mom by day and a superhero by night. In my 'cover job', as Josie, I am a real estate agent, that is the family business and we take it very, very seriously. We like to be extremely good at it. We have a son, Will who is attending high school for the first time. The film looks at the trials and tribulations of having teenage kids, which can be a stressful time. And yet the movie is an exciting and fun comedy. What I love about the film is that it is for all ages, for older kids as well. It's really for everyone, the whole family, which is great. And it has an edge to it. It is well written and sophisticated. All the kids have really cool superpowers.
What was it like wearing that skintight superhero costume, was it uncomfortable?
Yes mine had no cooling system. It was so tight and had a tiny fan and an air conditioning unit, but it was definitely hot on the set under the lights. It was made out of rubber, the same material that wet suits were made of. It took twenty minutes and two women helping me, just to get the suit on. When John (Travolta) came on the set he liked it though, he thought I looked good.
You're really athletic; did you work out for this role?
I did work out with a trainer but in general, I don't work out as much as I should because it is so hard to find the time when you have a family. I like to spend my time with my children. But I used to be a gymnast and I think that if I look good it's because your body remembers what you used to do. I was a gymnast for years. I think when you get into shape, which I had to do for this film, your body responds quickly if you have been athletic when you were younger.
This character must be perfect for you - her super power is flying and your husband is a pilot of course?
My name is Jetstream and my real son's name is Jett so that was fun for me and my family. I loved the flying in the film it was so much fun. And my husband loved the fact that my superpower was flying.
Do you and your husband still enjoy flying in real life?
I have jumped out of planes in real life, so flying has always been exciting for me. I don't do it anymore. I did it three times and decided that was enough. It is so exhilarating, but you can see how people can get addicted to the adrenaline. I think that now I have kids I have done that quite enough. I find the thrills in my life elsewhere. But my husband has been a jet pilot for 35 years. He's got eight jet ratings; he goes three times a year to renew his licenses. He flies 747s, 707s and a Gulfstream, he has three different licenses and he loves flying so much. He is so passionate and he is the best pilot I have ever flown with - literally. He is really amazing; I would fly with him over any other pilot in the world. The easiest gift to give my husband is anything to do with airlines and flying.
Does it make you nervous flying with other pilots?
Sometimes I do because I know him so well and because he is so great I would always much prefer to fly with him.
You have your own runway at home - that must be such fun?
It is amazing. It is very surreal to be doing something normal like lying on the couch watching TV and John's coming home and pulls the plane right up and arrives home in the 707 or the Gulfstream.
Did you and John spend much time with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn while you were making SKY HIGH?
We've known Goldie for years, Johnny is her friend and I have met her several times and she is much fun. I didn't know Kurt that well but we clicked instantly. He is really easy going, so much a "guys guy" but very playful, we would crack each other up a lot. We would be goofy. He loves to fly too, he's a pilot, so when John came to the set it was two pilots chatting about planes, they got on so well.
Jetstream is a real 'super mom' and you seem like a bit of a super mom yourself?
Aren't we all super moms? I really think that these days anybody who is a parent is a superparent. We are all trying to balance our careers and children and give as much of ourselves and our time to them. You work and have a husband, and projects, and friends. It is a balancing act.
How do you juggle everything in your own life?
I think there is sometimes guilt, if you have to go away for work but really don't want to leave home for a week. There is a conflict. You know you just kind of make it work though. I prioritize, I am a great list-maker to try to keep everything organized and I do have people who help me out. So I delegate a lot and I make my family come first, my husband and our kids. Keeping it all normal and keeping us together is my first priority. Then I fit films into my life.
How do you remain normal when your lifestyle is not really normal?
I know it is a complete dichotomy, because we do have an amazing life. We have so many fantastic rather surreal aspects to our lives and I think we try to be as normal as possible by doing regular things. We live mostly in Florida instead of L.A., we ride bikes, we go swimming, we do art projects, and we do things as a family. We go to ordinary places instead of five star restaurants all the time like 'Denny's' (a diner). My big places to shop are Wal-Mart and Target - seriously. That is where half of my stuff comes from now. I don't get to go to the super fancy stores unless I am in L.A. so you stay pretty real and normal that way. Our friends have nothing to do with the business. Some of our closest friends in Florida are not stars. We are friendly with the local deputy sheriff and other people who are not involved in Hollywood. And we teach your kids about what is important in life.
Would you allow your children to act?
I think with Ella we have no choice. You can tell she has already decided to be an actress. She does shows and puts on costumes, she is a typical kid you know, it is always: 'watch me, mom'. Last night I was working and didn't get home till late and she greeted me: 'Mom watch me in the pool'. She now swims underwater for so long, she is a five year-old fish. So I spent an hour watching her out by in the pool doing handstands and diving. She has been diving for months now. You want to spend time with your children even though you are tired so you do all those things."
SKY HIGH examines the difficulties and challenges facing teenagers. What was it like for you during those years?
I grew up in Hawaii and I think it was easier because we did not have cliques at high school. We would all hang out in big groups. There was a cross section of people and everybody was very tolerant of all different types of people. I was friendly with everybody, which was great. We moved to Australia for two years though and that was a little bit tough trying to fit in."
How do you and John stay so grounded do you think?
We both naturally love people and definitely Scientology helps us with every aspect of our lives. We are happy together, we have our family. Scientology helps you handle so much; it helps us to deal with problems and burdens. I think it lightens you and makes you more youthful. I think by being happy it actually affects the way that you look too.
What superpower would you like?
I would like to end world hunger and create world peace, stop corruption, stop drugs getting to kids. I support anything to do with the welfare and rights of children in a huge way.
How concerned are you about your own children growing up with the pressures of having famous parents?
I am not that concerned because I think it will be fine if you spend a lot of time with your kids and you give them a lot of attention and love. We have freedoms and boundaries; we just have a great family life. They are amazing kids so we let them make decisions but also have discipline.
Question & Answer Text Copyright Buena Vista International