John Travolta and son Jett in 2005
Splash News Online
06/08/2009 AT 12:55 PM EDT
As John Travolta copes with the death of son Jett
, the normally outgoing actor skipped promotional appearances for his new film The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
, instead taking the time out of the spotlight to grieve.
In a statement posted on his Web site
, Travolta says his colleagues "stepped up without hesitation to help promote this wonderful film, and their unselfish efforts have allowed my family the additional time to reconcile our loss."
Travolta says director Tony Scott "gave me the freedom to define, and then to become, the ultimate evil mastermind" in the film, playing a man who hijacks a New York subway. "This role as an actor gave me the chance to dispense with all moral and ethical limitations, and explore just how bad this character could really be."
He adds: "I am very proud of the efforts we have all made in making this movie, and I want each and every one of you to enjoy it."
The movie opens Friday.