You gotta feel for Taylor Kitsch. He was in two of 2012′s most anticipated blockbusters, but when both John Carter and Battleship failed spectacularly at the box office, he was identified as the weak link between them. Despite getting his start as Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights, Taylor just might not have the makings of a blockbuster headliner. So it’s not surprising that in promoting his latest film, the Oliver Stone drama Savages, Taylor is taking great pains to distance himself from big-budget studio pictures.
It’s back to just being mano-a-mano, and working with actors and not green screen. That was very refreshing. Both those films taught me an immense amount of patience, and I think I really brought that over to Savages. I really loved being on this set with these actors, and being a part of it. Not that I didn’t with the others, but just to make it as raw as this film is and to get back to what it is, going off another actors and really searching, creating and collaborating in that way is really refreshing, and I’ll stay on that track. There will be no more green screen for awhile.
Of course, part of why he’s pushing these quotes in multiple interviews could be his way of doing damage control, of heading off the inevitable rejections from big studios by saying that he doesn’t want those big roles anyway. To be fair, it seems the most logical choice on all sides. As he pointed out to the Washington Post, he has more freedom now that he’s not working around behemoths like Universal Pictures. “Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that it died, and I’m not tied to these things for the next 10 years,” he said. “I’m free to do whatever I want now. If I want to do something in January, February, March, April, I don’t have to go through two studios to be greenlit.” (Again, who can say if those studios would ever greenlight him again.)
Early reviews of Savages don’t mark Taylor as a highlight. One pointed out that since they’re potheads, neither Chon nor Ben are scintillating conversation partners. The Lancaster Eagle Gazette calls Taylor “consistent and believable” but with the caveat that Aaron Johnson has a more developed character. The official Crushable word is that he was “meh.” His only upcoming project is Lone Survivor, where he plays one of four Navy SEALs dispatched to kill a Taliban leader. Of course, Mark Wahlberg plays the only SEAL who actually survived, so there’s that.
Taylor’s most savvy move was in getting the last word. In his interview with the Washington Post, he acknowledged that he starred in two recent flops but still made himself sound like he tried his best. “I know personally, and this is the main thing to me that matters most, you talk to anybody I’ve ever worked with, ever. They will say that I’m probably the hardest-working actor you’ve watched in preparation, in drive, in what I put into it.” Because short of him pulling a Lindsay Lohan, the studios aren’t going to go out of their way to refute that.