Taylor Kitsch is about to become pretty famous. Within the space of a couple of months, he will be plastering billboards as the lead in three of the year’s biggest films. This week’s sci-fi epic John Carter sees him flexing in a skirt and slashing at various alien things over on Mars. In Battleship he’s fending off an alien invasion of massive Transformers-esque machines.
I’m working with Willem Defoe on Stilts in Pyjamas and then down the road I’m stabbing John Travolta and having a fucking intense scene with Benicio Del Toro. I’m a lucky guy to be working off other amazing actors and it’s just made me a better actor
Most anticipated is his lead role in the Oliver Stone (Platoon, JFK, Wall Street) project Savages alongside Aaron Johnson and Benicio Del Toro. Taylor currently carries himself more like the bass player in an Austin band who sings about not being able to pay the rent, than a soon to be A-list Hollywood actor – he swears a lot for a start. Dazed Digital met up with Taylor to find out where the hell he has sprung from and why we should care.
Dazed Digital: You’re starring in three huge films all within close proximity – where have you come from?
Taylor Kitsch: I can give you a quick synopsis I guess of how in my point of view it worked out: Small town Canadian guy, frozen pond in the back yard, ice-hockey – that was our religion. Played 20 years of hockey, was going to play pro, knee went out. I was homeless in New York, got a manager, she took a risk on me with not a fucking credit to my name. Moved to LA, lived in my car, struggled more. Went home to Vancouver to get more money to come back. Did Snakes On A Plane. Then I got a true opportunity, which has been a springboard. Pete Berg cast me in 'Friday Night Lights', did that for years garnered the critical acclaim without being pigeonholed or over-exposed. Then I got John fucking Carter, then Battleship then Savages. Fuck that’s some crazy shit.
DD: Peter Berg told me you were the new Brad Pitt – does that mean anything to you?
Taylor Kitsch: I’ve never met Pitt, but I love his character roles. I think he’s a great actor so it’s flattering. That’s funny Pete said that, he knows how much I hate being compared to other people, because our job is to create our own fucking niche and our name, but it’s inevitable. Hopefully in ten or twenty years, i’ve created my own niche and there’s a young cat coming up and he’s like, ‘I’d love to work with Kitsch,’ as much as i’d love to work with Sean Penn or Pitt.
DD: You’re working with three very different directors on three very different films.
Taylor Kitsch: Yeah, and each one is a different experience. I’m working with Willem Defoe on Stilts in Pyjamas and then down the road I’m stabbing John Travolta and having a fucking intense scene with Benicio Del Toro. I’m a lucky guy to be working off other amazing actors, and it’s just made me a better actor.
DD: John Carter looked pretty exhausting.
Taylor Kitsch: Yeah, I suffered form exhaustion on that, like doctor’s orders bed rest kind of shit. I shouldn’t say that, but it happened. And this is the only time I can have retrospect, man. Because you’re so myopic with everything and you’re working back to back – I worked 50 weeks last year, so it’s like I’m fucking beyond exhausted.
DD: Especially after doing Battleships and John Carter, are you conscious about the kind of roles you’ll take next?
Taylor Kitsch: Yeah, right now we’re looking for something incredibly gritty, I’m looking for the next Bang Bang club; something very gritty in that way where I can disappear into another cat. I never got into acting to be the lead in an X-million dollar movie with the huge franchises, that’s not what the struggle was about. Yesterday I was offered another franchise that was way less depth than John Carter or Battleship, just a blatant fucking… you know what I mean. You just have to be incredibly conscious of it.
DD: Are you prepared for fame and not being able to walk around un-recognised?
Taylor Kitsch: Here I can, it’s nice, other places I can’t. The short hair helps. I stay very under the radar by choice. It’s flattering when people recognise you for your work. I’d rather be recognised for my work than if I were out in those magazines all the time or dating a fucking mess of an actress.
John Carter is out this Friday