John Travolta’s Overlooked Classic Is Getting A Reboot Series

By Nathan Kamal | 4 months ago

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One of actor John Travolta’s best and most overlooked films is getting rebooted. It has just been announced that Paramount+ is set to produce a streaming series based on the 1980 film Urban Cowboy, which starred Travolta, Debra Winger and Scott Glenn. While it is not as familiar to modern audiences as Travolta’s iconic films Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Face/Off, that has more to do with the sheer longevity and breadth of his career than the quality of the movie. The Paramount+ series is set to be directed by James Pondsolt (who also helmed The Spectacular Now and The End of the Tour) and will be co-written by popular novelist Benjamin Percy. There are not a lot of other details available about the series, so we will have to wait and find out about a release date. 

The original Urban Cowboy centered around the popular revival of country music in America in the late 1970s. It fittingly also had a hit soundtrack that included iconic artists of the time like The Charlie Daniels Band, Bonnie Raitt, and Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. Jimmy Buffett also appears on the soundtrack. The film itself was actually loosely inspired by an Esquire Magazine article titled “The Ballad Of The Urban Cowboy: America’s Search For True Grit.” The 1978 piece detailed the tumultuous relationship between two bar patrons at a honky tonk in Pasadena, Texas. The film follows roughly the same plot, with John Travolta playing Bud, a rough oil worker, Debra Winger playing his hot-headed love interest Sissy, and a mechanical bull prominently playing itself. 

john travolta urban cowboy
John Travolta in Urban Cowboy (1980)

The bulk of Urban Cowboy follows the passionate, but also violent relationship between Bud and Sissy. It will be interesting to see how this new reboot adapts the original plot, which basically took domestic violence and borderline alcoholism as an ordinary fact of married life. John Travolta just recently described the film as his favorite experience working on a film, posting a picture of himself in character on his popular Instagram account. It probably helped that it was a minor hit for Travolta after the successes of Saturday Night Fever and Grease had been followed by a bizarre romantic comedy starring himself and Lily Tomlin that had bombed at the box office. Moment by Moment has yet to be revived as a Paramount+ reboot series. 

In a career as long as John Travolta’s, there is bound to be some highs and lows. One of his classic triumphs, Grease, is also getting a reboot series on Paramount+. This one will focus on The Pink Ladies, the tough talking girl gang led by Stockard Channing in the original film. Paramount+ is currently dominating streaming services right now, with the Kevin Costner-starring Yellowstone in production for a fifth season and the Jeremy Renner series Mayor of Kingstown recently renewed for a second. We look forward to further news of the Urban Cowboy series, particularly if they are going to keep to its roots as a country western dance showcase.