How a director known for drama made ‘White Noise,’ the strangest disaster movie of the year
John Travolta stars as the doomed New York advertising designer George Whitehead, whose idea for a revolutionary marketing campaign for the Ford Motor Company goes horribly wrong, taking his job with the company — and his life — with it. The result is a stunning cinematic catastrophe.
The most improbable disaster movie of the year is not the one where a plane lands on the World Trade Center, or the one where someone falls off a cliff while jogging, or the one where a truck gets stuck in a mudslide, or the one where a woman gets run over by a garbage truck or the one where a dog bites someone? Nope. The most improbable disaster movie of the year is the one from the director of White Noise, the strangest disaster movie of the year. It’s White Noise, starring John Travolta as the doomed advertising designer George Whitehead, his wife (Serena Scott Thomas) and their young son. His job with the Ford Motor Company goes horribly wrong, and he is left with a life-altering decision that will turn his life upside down, both professionally and personally.
Travolta’s turn as Whitehead wasn’t as easy to predict, as the actor only became a household name in the last few years thanks to several movies and TV shows including Pulp Fiction, American Pie, and Friday Night Lights, three movies set during the same period as White Noise, with its “80s feel and soundtrack.” But unlike those other movies, White Noise takes place in a pre-Internet era, where everything had a digital signature, there were no cellphones, and you couldn’t text your mom with a picture of your drunken ass in a car at 6 a.m.
Travolta plays George Whitehead, an ad-agency marketing legend who made his company a global powerhouse. This ad firm would go to great lengths to create a unique look and feel for every campaign, from the White House’s inauguration to the New York City Marathon, and then in a big way (though they didn’t do this). During the time Whitehead was employed at Ford, he and his team were responsible for creating the “New York Times” ads for the new