Playing real-life characters has worked out pretty well for John Travolta as of late, with a turn as defense attorney Robert Shapiro in American Crime Story, and taking on the title role in the years-in-development but hopefully-soon-to-be-released The Life And Death Of John Gotti. Travolta’s latest role also falls into the category of true crime: Deadline reports that Speed Kills is not, in fact, a sequel to a Keanu Reeves movie, even though it’s better than the actual title of that sequel (Speed 2: Cruise Control). Instead, the film will explore the volatile life of boat designer, racer, and businessman Don Aronow, who created a speedboat empire featuring the famous Cigarette boat, among others. Aronow won awards for racing, ran several companies, and built speedboats for pals like the Shah of Iran, Malcolm Forbes, and Lyndon Johnson. He also sold boats to cocaine runners for the Miami drug cartel, who favored his Cigarette boats for their speed. It all didn’t turn out so well for Aronow, who was murdered in 1987, but should give Travolta a lot to work with in his new role.
Speed Kills will be helmed by Texas Chainsaw 3D director John Luessenhop, who co-wrote the script with Friday Night Lights writer David Aaron Cohen. Deadline quotes Travolta as saying, “I like biopic films. They are fascinating to me, and real-life characters are always interesting to play… This is a great story.” Now let’s see if that long-awaited Gotti movie ever sees the light of day.