Ella Bleu Travolta always had an inkling she’d follow in the footsteps of her famous parents.
“Since I was very little, I’ve loved performing, singing, dancing and putting on shows at home for my family and friends,” the 19-year-old burgeoning actress tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.
Attendance at her homespun plays was “mandatory,” jokes Ella, whose parents, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, dutifully watched their budding thespian from the front row. “In our house in Maine we have this stage area set up with a little red curtain and my friends and I would perform there…We did (everything), from the Hulk to Christmas shows and one year we all played different ‘Housewives of Maine’.”
Now, after a small role in 2009’s Old Dogs, Ella is all grown up and poised to break out in The Poison Rose, a noir thriller opening on May 24 that stars her father and Morgan Freeman.
To help prep for her dramatic role as a young widow, Ella turned to Travolta for acting advice on set.
“It helped so much having my dad there,” she says. “It was so comforting and he’s the best mentor ever.”
Preston, too, has been a go-to for acting wisdom as well as life lessons over the years. “When I have any questions, my mom and dad have the best advice, and that’s amazing… I love that it’s sort of the family business!”
As for her fave movies from her parents’ respective acting resumes? “Oh my gosh, all of them are absolutely amazing, so that’s really hard (to pick), but some of my top favorites of my dad’s are From Paris with Love, and obviously Grease,” says Ella, who counts Cat in the Hat and What a Girl Wants as among her favorite films starring Preston.
Ella is heartened knowing she’d have her parents blessing no matter what career path she’d picked. “Whatever I would have chosen to do they would have supported me,” she says. “But they’re really proud of me for (acting)…and that makes me proud too!”