In 1978, when the movie Grease premiered, Olivia Newton-John was already a star thanks to her flourishing music career that spanned genres. Despite her stardom, Newton-John was still pretty new at acting when she landed the role of Sandy in the film adaptation of Grease.
Prior to the movie, she only had two acting credits to her name, 1965’s Funny Things Happen Down Under and 1970’s Toomorrow.
In an interview with Us Weekly, she opened up about her experience on the Grease set. Even though co-star John Travolta was a budding star on his own, Newton-John said that he was “very thoughtful” during their acting scenes, especially at the start of filming.
The very first day of filming an acting scene was the two main stars at the beach and it involved a kissing scene.
She recalled, “It was at the beach — actually the opening scene of the movie. It was a beautiful day…That was the first time we had kissed.”
Continuing, Newton-John said, “I was nervous of course. I remember just before that we were sitting on a rock and it’s actually in the movie that these waves broke over us. These rogue waves came in…it was a very special day and it was really a nice way to get to know John a little bit because we hadn’t spent all that much time together. We had some rehearsal time and dance time and stuff, but this was our first acting day. It was lovely. It was special.”
The singer-actress also spoke about Travolta’s “generosity” as an actor.
“John is a lovely, sweet man,” she said to Us Weekly. “And he made all my acting experiences really easy. He was very thoughtful and encouraged me if he thought I wasn’t doing a good enough job.”
Newton-John told a story about a scene they were filming after the bonfire where the two were fighting. She said that Travolta “deliberately messed up” so she could do the scene again. Newton-John said he whispered, “I know you can do it better.”
“That was just a sample of his generosity as an actor,” she said.
Check out that scene below.