Having hit the big screen back in 2006 with a role in John Tucker Must Die, Taylor Kitsch has gone onto feature in the likes of Snakes of a Plane, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Bang Bang Club. Taking on the eponymous role in the sci fi fantasy action adventure, John Carter, cinema goers will also be able to see him in Battleship and Savages, both due out later in the year.
Recently in London to talk about his time on the set of John Carter, Taylor Kitsch spoke to View’s Matthew Turner about his love for a great character driven plotline, how he’d love to play the X-Men’s Gambit once more, and just why Willem Dafoe is such an amazing actor.
Did you have a connection to the source material before the project came about?
Yeah, it goes from the first meeting I had with Stants [Andrew Stanton] – I didn't know anything John Carter or Edgar Rice Burroughs before I had that meeting and then his energy's incredibly infectious, of course and I left that meeting ready to die to get this role. And then I went right from that meeting to the bookstore and got the books.
That's all we talked about, the arc of John, from this broken Civil War vet to John Carter of Mars...
It looks like a great year for you, what with this and Battleship coming out. What's the trick?
Oh, the trick! I've been doing it for a while. No, I don't know. I'm excited about this year. There's no getting around it, it's a big year. I'm excited about how different these roles are. That's probably what I'm most proud of, of just the full spectrum of these characters. And working with such different actors and directors and stories. That's the beauty of my gig. And to keep throwing you guys curve-balls so you will hopefully never be able to pigeon-hole me.
Are you more at home with the big action films, the big epic scope?
No, it's not. And I truly am behind this film in more of the sense that it's a character driven adventure before anything. That was the beauty of that first meeting of like – he never talked about budget, not once, of the grandeur of this film. It was floor-to-ceiling prep of all the characters and primarily Carter and that's all we talked about, was the spectrum, the arc of John, from this broken Civil War vet to John Carter of Mars, who he becomes.
And that's why I threw my hat in the ring. I wouldn't have done this if it was an action first film. And that goes the same with Battleship. To re-engage with Pete Berg, who's a dear friend of mine [from Friday Night Lights] and to work with Liam Neeson and to do that was a flattering thing for him to approach me with and Pete's a hard guy to say no too.
Did Andrew tell you he'd seen you in Friday Night Lights and said, 'That guy could play John Carter,' well before the project got off the ground?
No, not well before. I think he mentioned it. I think it exposed me to him, is what it did. And I think he was apprehensive because I was playing 18 and just seeing if I was old enough to play [Carter]. I mean obviously I'm here now, so I did something right.
Where do you go after this?
Sleep for about a month and then I'd love to get working out again and doing all that. I feel like I'm fading away right now, but it's so tough.
You said at a press conference that you wanted to stay fairly slim ...
You know, I'm so out of my element right now, because I can't do anything that's very fulfilling. I'm on this insane schedule that you don't know where you are and so I'm excited to get back on a regimen of just reading books and working out in the morning and going to those little things that we all take for granted. And then I'm going to do – I can't say officially yet but I may re-engage with Pete Berg.
Would you like to play Gambit again?
People love Gambit! Apparently. I had a riot playing him and my take on him would be a lot darker. But I'd say 90% chance that it won't happen.