Taylor Kitsch, famous for his portrayal of dreamy-yet-troubled youth Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights, is taking the big screen by storm, starring in John Carter and Battleship.
In Disney’s John Carter, Kitsch plays a long-locked Confederate army veteran who finds himself on Mars with the fate of the planet in his hands. Same story in Battleship, except Kitsch has short hair and the future of Earth, menaced by alien, hangs in the balance.
Critics who were big Riggins boosters worry that Kitsch’s movie career could run aground if these films flop. MTV’s Kevin P. Sullivan opines that from the previews it appears that neither movie takes advantage of the formidable charisma Kitsch displayed as Riggins on the “criminally under-watched” NBC show:
Riggins grew dear to the show’s viewers because of the charm and likability Kitsch brought to the character, despite a tough exterior. Throughout the show’s run, it was never a stretch to imagine the actor making the crossover to big-budget action movies with his charisma as hard evidence of his bankability.
But for his Super Bowl debuts, the studios behind “John Carter” and “Battleship” took the focus off of their star and instead cut special-effects shots together, leaving Kitsch as little more than background noise.
Amos Barshad, writing at Grantland‘s Hollywood Prospectus, was more optimistic for Battleship‘s chances:
Battleship has to fight off some bad prerelease vibes, too, but that’s mostly down to the fact that people still want to be all like “they made Battleship into a movie? What’s next, a View-Master movie?!” (Answer: yes). But optioning Battleship, it appears, was just an excuse for a perfectly serviceable-seeming naval-warfare/alien-invasion flick. Riggins fighting for the survival of mankind? I can cosign that.
Barshad also notes FNL fans have a “highly dramatic scene” between Kitsch and Dallas-born Jesse Plemons (who played Landry) to look forward to in Battleship.
Back in 2006, the TM Daily Post‘s very own Michael Hoinski spent a night out with Kitsch for the New York Times during FNL‘s first season. At the time he noted the “heartthrob versus thespian” tug-of-war that pulls the hunky Canadian in several directions. “When I was 21, I wrote down that I would work with Sean Penn within the next 10 years,” Kitsch said then. That has yet to happen (and Kitsch turns 31 in April).
But while John Carter and Battleship might not push Kitsch further along the thespian continuum, they could set the stage for him to appear in other, more serious films in the future, particularly given the indie cred he has stored up from FNL.
WATCH the John Carter trailer:
And the Battleship trailer: