Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Discuss: Can Taylor Kitsch's 2012 Be Saved By 'Savages?'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist July 3, 2012 at 10:03AM

From a brand perspective, actor Taylor Kitsch has had an unfortunate 2012. With the movie industry dealing with a rocky past few years, Hollywood has had to adjust its strategy, moving to a familiar, but relatively new spending plan. With A-list stars demanding huge salaries or major backend deals with little assurance that their popularity will translate into box-office gold, Tinseltown has looked inward, almost akin to the old studio system, in an attempt to cultivate its own new (less-expensive) would-be stars.
22


Battleship

We suspect the film will be fairly well-received, and do moderate-to-disappointing box office, without setting the world on fire; enough to not be a third disaster in a row, but probably not enough to restore confidence in Kitsch completely. So the question is, what's his next play?

After Ryan Reynolds' disastrous 2011 summer, the actor went to ground somewhat. "Safe House" was already in the can (and thankfully proved to be a big hit), and shooting was already pretty much underway on "R.I.P.D." But since then, the actor's been quiet, with only animated gigs on "The Croods" and "Turbo" (and **spoiler** a self-deprecating cameo in "Ted," clearly from the Tom Cruise/"Tropic Thunder" school of rehabilitation **end spoiler**) actually in production. He has signed on to some other gigs, including the indie drama "Big Eyes," and he's been rumored for the "Highlander" remake (although it's worth noting he's not yet confirmed for that movie). But it's clear that the bruising performance of last year's films made Reynolds and his management take stock a bit.

Kitsch would be well advised to do the same. The actor only has one film on his slate at present, reuniting with "Battleship" director Peter Berg on another military-themed project, the Afghanistan-set "Lone Survivor." The film is shooting this fall, and will see the actor in a more comfortable second-fiddle role to proven draw Mark Wahlberg. We suspect that there's a degree to which Kitsch, like Jude Law and Colin Farrell before him, is a character actor being forced into leading man roles, and may find he's having more fun if, like them, he starts taking more interesting supporting parts. The relatively healthy international box office for his two films suggests he has some value in terms of pre-sales, so he could still be an asset to independent producers putting together a package.

Kitsch was also linked to fan-favorite role Finnick Odair in "Hunger Games" sequel "Catching Fire," and while it was swiftly denied by all involved, including the actor, it might have been a smart move to pursue it; walking into a pre-made franchise with the pressure off is probably preferable to trying to launch a whole franchise on your own shoulders. But the better template Kitsch should try to follow is that of Mr. Channing Tatum.

Taylor Kitsch

A year ago, Tatum was seen as a wooden himbo, whose blockbuster attempts with "G.I. Joe" and "The Eagle" had been pretty unsuccessful. But now, Tatum has had three (wildly different) films opening above $35 million in five months, has won critical acclaim, and is pretty much Hollywood's hottest new star. And in part, he did it by taking his destiny into his own hands, working with smart filmmakers and developing his own projects, while not neglecting the core of his audience by making a film like "The Vow."

He's had as good a year as Kitsch had a bad one, but serves as a demonstration that the "Battleship" star is far from down and out yet, and taking a few hints from the Tatum playbook wouldn't be the worst idea in the world. Find a cameo or an expectations-defying role in some Apatow-type comedy. Chase the next Nicholas Sparks adaptation, the best possible way to establish a fanbase among young women (because Kitsch's biggest problem right now is that he doesn't really have a fanbase, other than "Friday Night Lights" fans out there). Hook up with some smart filmmakers and take a small, memorable role. If he follows some of those steps, Kitsch may be around for plenty of time to come.

This article is related to: Features, Battleship, John Carter Of Mars, Savages, Taylor Kitsch


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates