Photo: Van Redin/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank (Getty Images)
While for some he will always be Tim Riggins, the running back of Permian Panthers, actor Taylor Kitsch has had a quite interesting career outside of the monumental TV show Friday Light Nights. Series that paints the picture of a small town USA couldn’t be a better stepping stone for a young actor, as Michael B. Jordan can testify, yet Kitsch has had a different career route than his former teammate.
Before Tim Riggins
Prior to becoming the troubled Riggins, Kitsch had minor parts in a cult movie Snakes On A Plane (2006), and another equally bad one – John Tucker Must Die (2006), which didn’t have the cult status. His first bigger role was in a movie The Covenant (2006), which was basically a hororish, bad Chronicle (2012). His first movies were not good picks, put they were still a significant step up from the part of Kitsch’s life when he lived in the New York subway for weeks as a struggling actor.ž
While playing Tim Riggins
Image: Tribeca Film
The Canadian actor was involved with the show throughout its five seasons from 2006 until 2011, and he didn’t have much time to commit himself to other roles. His part in Gospel Hill (2008) is not significant, and neither is the movie, but the following year Kitsch presented himself to the big-screen audience in highly anticipated X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where he played the famed mutant Gambit. Yet the movie was a huge disappointment because the fans were furious with the way a lot of supporting characters have been depicted, including Gambit. Even the absolute perfect performance couldn’t save the character Gambit as it is included in one of the most ridiculous scenes in modern blockbusters where Wolverine cuts down a fire escape.
2010 was the year in which Kitsch finally caught a break and co-starred in a well received, serious movie about war photographers called The Bang Bang Club, but alas, the movie was underseen.
After Tim Riggins
After the end of Friday Night Lights Kitsch had a pretty strong hand going into the rest of his career in the form of Disney’s film adaptation of their hundred years old story John Carter, for which Kitsch got the main role. The company decided to honor one of their oldest properties with a $250,000,000 budget, 20 million more than what James Cameron had for Avatar, yet the movie grossed only $73,058,679 domestically. It did way better abroad, but the lack of merchandising and marketing troubles made Kitsch’s big break one of the biggest movie flops ever. Which the movie definitely isn’t deserving off as it is a solid, fun action-adventure sci-fi movie, and Kitsch did a fitting job in it, but the huge fan base he had from FNL didn’t come up to see the movie.
Image: Walt Disney Pictures
The year continued with another failure for Kitsch as he stared in the movie Battleship (2012) based on the Hasbro naval war game, which was basically a cheesy CGI patriotism fest and a bad idea from the start. While Kitsch was the star he had some major names by his side in Alexander Skarsgård and Liam Neeson, but that didn’t help the film that never should’ve been made.
Finishing the trio of unsuccessful 2012 Taylor Kitsch movies was Oliver Stone’s action crime drama Savages, in which the former TV star acted alongside two other upcoming Hollywood prospects Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Blake Lively. Getting mixed reviews by the critics and the audiences, it was quickly forgotten, and seemingly it re-routed Kitsch to do more indies and shorts.
Yet in 2013 Kitsch did another big movie with a strong cast including Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, and Eric Bana – the war drama Lone Survivor. It was Kitsch’s second collaboration with the director Peter Berg after they wrapped up Friday Night Lights, the first one being Battleship. Yet this film was received much better, getting the attention and the approval of the masses.
The jock label follows Kitsch since Tim Riggins, and the action hero is the next logical step in that evolution, but the man always admired the types of actors like Sean Penn and a Daniel Day-Lewis. In 2013 he also decided to play to his strength and starred in a small, unusual comedy The Grand Seduction in which a small village tries to make a doctor, played by Kitsch, settle in it. Original movie that is hard not to like isn’t as known as it should be, but it was a great break from the high-paced action flicks he was filming thus far.
Back to TV and upcoming
In 2015 Kitsch returned to the small screens and he did it in style by co-leading in the second season of one of the most regarded television series ever True Detective. The second season is not as nearly highly regarded by critics and audiences as the premiere one, but despite that, it’s still quality TV. It’s a much simpler story than the one preceding it, but it’s also more realistic, gritty, and parallels some real-life crime and society issues. Kitsch is perfect as the withdrawn, reserved officer and ex-solider Paul Woodrugh, draining emotion from the audience and commanding the action scenes his in.
Kitsch has two promising movies lined up for 2017, a story about firefighters Granite Mountain, powered by a strong ensemble cast, and an action thriller American Assassin alongside Michael Keaton and Dylan O’Brien. He will also star and direct the movie he wrote – Pieces in the future, while he gets another strong co-star in Michael Shannon for the announced drama Waco in which he will have the real opportunity to showcase his acting as he plays a religious leader.
Which of Taylor Kitsch’s roles did you enjoy the most besides his most famous one, and will he forever be just the Tim Riggins actor for you?