Denzel Washington: John Travolta Struggling Over Son's Death

Denzel Washington: John Travolta Struggling Over Son's Death
Denzel Washington and John Travolta
Axelle Woussen/Bauer-Griffin,

05/29/2009 AT 08:30 PM EDT

Just over two weeks ago, Denzel Washington spoke on the phone with John Travolta – though it was Travolta, grieving over the death of his son, who did most of the talking.

"Needless to say, he's struggling," Washington, who stars opposite Travolta in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, said at a press conference for the film on Friday. "So more than talking to him, I listened to him, for about two or three hours."

Travolta's healing process is "going to take time," Washington says. "What can you say, really? Just be there as a friend, because he's such a sweet, sweet person. Our prayers are with he and his wife."

Jett Travolta, 16, died unexpectedly in the Bahamas while the family was vacation in January, reportedly due to a seizure.

Washington says his wife Pauletta was closer with Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston prior to their teaming on Pelham in 2008, but, "I know him pretty good now, I think." Their characters interact primarily through electronic communication, but both actors were on set for each other's scenes.

While developing their rapport then, Washington says his phone conversations with Travolta were very different. "We would sing songs, [be] telling jokes and singing Broadway tunes and all kinds of stuff."

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