John Travolta Playing Cigarette Boat Maker Don Aronow In ‘Speed Kills’

EXCLUSIVE: Two time Academy Award® nominee and Golden Globe® winner John Travolta will star as speed boat racing champion Don Aronow in Speed Kills, the John Luessenhop-directed drama backed by Hannibal that will film in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Miami Beach starting May 30. Hannibal’s Richard Rionda Del Castro is producing with Oscar Generale and Luillo Ruiz of The Pimienta Film Company in Puerto Rico. Friday Night Lights‘ David Aaron Cohen wrote the script with Luessenhop. Paul Castro, a writer with close personal ties to the Aronow family, is consulting on the script.

Travolta is coming off playing defense attorney Robert Shapiro in American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, and most recently wrapped playing the title character in The Life and Death of John Gotti. He takes on another larger than life character in Aronow, a womanizing multimillionaire who created the Cigarette and other speedboats, and sold them to presidents, the Shah of Iran, Malcolm Forbes and pop stars. At his height, he did business with the US Government and drug cartels at the same time, a double life that led to his mysterious murder in 1987 while he sat in his car in Miami.

Travolta will be exec producer with Anson Downes, Linda Favila, Patricia Eberle, Tim Cavanaugh, Cam Cannon, Lindsey Roth, Richard Lechartier, Christophe Verneau, Walter Josten of Blue Rider Pictures and also Grace Collins.

“I like biopic films,” Travolta said. “They are fascinating to me and real life characters are always interesting to play…this is a great story.”

Luessenhop helmed Texas Chainsaw 3-D and Takers. “Once I starting learning about Don Aronow’s life, I jumped at the opportunity to bring this story to the big screen,” he said. “John Travolta is the perfect actor to bring Aronow’s story to life.”

Hannibal Classics is selling worldwide rights and expects to be done by the end of the Cannes Film Festival.

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