John Travolta has said he fears character-driven stories are being overtaken by gimmicks in cinema - and paid tribute to late actor James Gandolfini.

The US actor was interviewed on stage at the BFI in London on Tuesday evening by presenter Jonathan Ross.

After saying he was not “a comic book guy” (but would consider a role as a Bond villain), Travolta said: “I am a little worried because the kind of films I’ve loved over the years are diminishing by this new wave of financing in films.

“I’m doing my best to make the kind of movies I respect and I’m going out of my way to target them. But the honest truth is… I think we’ll see more gimmick films.

“The heyday of humane stories and character driven stories are limited. It’s not that they’re over because good stories will always be told but they are becoming limited.”

Travolta also paid tribute to Sopranos actor James Gandolfini, who died last week aged 51 from a heart attack while in Rome.

Travolta, who starred opposite Gandolfini in five films including Get Shorty, said: “He was one of those people who you would fall in love with the moment you met him.

“He was always people first and then show business. He remained that way throughout his career.

“He was there first when my son passed away and wouldn’t leave my small town where my family lives until he knew we were okay. He’s that kind of human being.

“I can’t say enough about James Gandolfini. We did five movies together and I loved working with him. We were a natural act together.”

The on stage interview followed the UK premiere of Killing Season, in which Travolta plays a Serbian who seeks revenge on a US veteran, played by Robert De Niro. It is directed by Mark Steven Johnson and will be released in the UK by Lionsgate.