Interview: Taylor Kitsch
Itís always great when you meet someone for the first time and theyíre extremely nice and grounded. That's exactly how we could describe Canadian born, Taylor Kitsch who plays John Carter in Disney's new live-action, science fiction adventure John Carter.
John Carter is sort of this iconic book series. I remember hearing an interview with you saying that you wanted to shoot a sci-fi growing up. Did that create a challenge for you?
I donít think so. At the end of the day it doesnít matter if itís a comedy or Sci-Fi or horror itís just hopefully about the character first and no one is going to put pressure on it but me to do it justice. And the beauty of my gig and hopefully with anyone writers storytellers writers artists, youíre going to make it your own. Iíve had that with Gambit to this guy to everyone except kev carter who I really was worried about doing him and his real life justice. Thatís pressure. But with this thatís why he has a worldwide search for who Carter is to him and I was just fortunate enough that my view was close enough to his.
Was there more pressure on you given besides production?
Ya I act harder, the more budget there is. I think maybe unconsciously there was. I mean it was truly an exhausting marathon for me. I know it sounds very clichť but I just wouldnít let that beat me or be denied of that. I love the challenge and I rose to it. Iím very proud that I didnít succumb to it that way. Iím very much a leader by example, and not like a cheerleader on set. Iím not like ďHey how you doing? Good morning man! What are you up to?Ē Iím not trying to make everyone best friends, Iím not that guy and Iím rather inspired to work than being that pompom.
Iím not a huge science fiction person myself but I do really like western movies. What actors of movies do you take inspiration from?
Thatís when you start to shoot yourself in the foot, when youíre like this is my Butch Cassidy moment, even with Riggins because there is a movie before and theyíre like Garrett played him this way, and they compared my character because they are both kind of darker guys and Iím like thatís the last thing Iím going to draw inspiration from. It goes back to making it on my own. But I do keep pitching for them to write me a western. We had so much fun doing that part of it just because we were on stages in London for four months and they built this incredible western town in this nook between two mountains. I just realized that youíre living the boyhood dream, being on the horse, coming into this town, itís great.
What was it like shooting the movie with a lot of special effects?
I think you learn patience incredibly quickly. Even the trust needs to be enhanced because there is so much there that will be put in in post. I mean Iím working with Wilam Defoe playing Tars target. But working with Sam Worton, all these Oscar winning nominated people around me. I was fortunate enough to work with that. The tough part was when there was nothing Stan could do, it was literally a pink X on the wall and thatís something youíre battling or have to be emotional, thatís tough. I kind of pride myself as being quite subtle as an actor. In this I felt like I was overacting a lot because the stakes are so insanely high and the energy needs to be that way. I canít act of anything so I canít really go off my gut for the most part, like if Iím having a conversation with another actor I can just really feel what they are giving back and act of that.
With a movie thatís graphic with war, how important was it to keep it a family oriented movie?
We tell a good story thatís the bottom line. Itís up to Stan first of all, Iím sure he has to keep it in the realm of PG. We got away with a lot making the blood blue. I mean if I was dipped in red blood coming out of the ape it wouldnít be PG and all the decapitating and stuff like that. Thatís the beauty of artists as well, and why you love and I love certain musicians. They do their own work and they donít try and mold for what they think youíre going to like. You like them for them being their own individual, and thatís exactly how we approach the story telling. You never want to mold it to what you think they want.
Coming from a hockey background and being a leader, what personal experiences did you make?
I think a lot of my attributes come from hockey and the struggle and the work ethic. I really do believe Iím sure by outworking people. I wonít say what audition but I got it. When you go into the audition you always hear who else is there in the mix and it was on a Wednesday or a Thursday and I heard two out of the five guys were in Vegas on Monday and Tuesday. For me I was like ok those two are out of the race. That helped me. When I listen and I hear all that, I just want it more. The advice I have for young actors and struggling actors is just donít be outworked and you will be ok truly.
There is a lot of talk that there could be a sequel. If you had a chance to play John Carter or Gambit again, who would you choose and why?
John Carter. I think itís just that you give me a platform to dive into and the more fulfilling it is for me as actor and its hopefully more fulfilling for you guys as a viewer. I love how dark he is. At the beginning of the film in that full spectrum that he goes through is rare. Itís more character driven than anything else. I wouldnít have done this film if it was action for the sake of action. It was a no brainer.
You mentioned that you believe when youíre scared of something you know youíre doing it right. What scared you about approaching this project?
Oh man so many. I think personally once I broke down the script it took me three full reads and a white chalk board to write it down. But it was that, to do the script potential justice was I think scary to me because there was so much there and I felt that there was so much to dive into. Bringing life into Andrew Stantans dream was a lot to be the title guy. It wasnít the variable of being the lead it was more that this guy had wanted to see this thing on the screen since he was 11 years old and that it has shaped so much of him and heís giving you the tab to play it.
You were shooting a lot of this movie out in Utah.
Ok so there are 60-80 mile/hr. sandstorms and we had to shut down set a lot of the time. Iím obviously in this glorified skirt and boots and Willam is on three foot stilts and pajamas and Lynn Collins is in her armory which is quite revealing as well and you look around and you see a full sandstorm coming. Then you look around at the crew who are in military boots, jeans, and huge coats, scarves wrapped around their face or bandanas. Then there is the actor standing there waiting half naked waiting for this sand to hit you at 70 miles an hour. That kind of encompasses our time in Utah. Plus being in that 120 degree weather was pretty great. I had to stay pale because he wanted me white and really pale just for it to be that much different. I was putting on 115-125 SPF.
Working with a director with an animation background did you notice a difference in how he approached the film?
Well I have never met anyone that has prepped as much as he has. I donít know if thatís the background or his personality. I mean this guy is truly just incredibly smart, heís quite genius. He really is that guy. We were having a beer in London right when we got there and you really want to pick these guysí brains, we can do a couple things at once but he will do like five, six, seven things. He was telling me this story and was having this pretty engaging conversation and I would ask him how many things he was doing at the moment in your head. So that sort of entails who he is to me. I think heís one of the best story tellers I have ever worked with, if not the best.
Did you keep any props?
Ya, I kept my rings which were everything to Carter, and the journal which helped me a lot. I burned the skirt. I have the boots, I think.
Coming from a modeling background is there a lot of pressure for men in Hollywood regarding body image?
Not for me, I donít think so. I think Iím who I am and that hopefully doesnít dictate who I am to other people as well. I have also tried to lose all my muscle for another role and I think itís just a manner of doing the honor to what the role asks from you. Id gain weight for a role if it was the right thing. I donít worry about that itís just a matter of doing the character right.
After hearing about your exhaustion, it makes us wonder what was the nutrition like?
I'll paint a picture. Picture yourself training for four months every day, 6 days a week on a diet and then you go to London and youíre working out at 430 in the morning. Then youíre working, training and still on that diet for seven more months. It takes a lot of energy to do it justice. It just chips away at you and there was a time when I was in Utah and there was a small 100yard hill and I came out of the trailer and I was kind of fading. My body was getting smaller and I was really just exhausted and I couldnít walk up that hill. I was 29 and in the best shape I had ever been in my life and I couldnít get up that hill. Thatís when I had to take the rest of the day off to go sleep.
What did you think of your co-star?
Amazing. I think the biggest compliment you can give any actor is that theyíre going to be around for a long time. And sheís legit. You can feel it when sheís doing her monologues just how grounded she is. To play such an empowering figure as a woman is a great thing because there is that stigma or clichť of a princess. For her to really play that woman with such strength says a lot.
Do you have a dream role/film?
Thereís a lot. I feel like Iím still very hungry and I just keep wanting to do something incredibly different. I donít think I really could narrow it down to one role. Thereís something in me that wants to play a musician of some sort. I donít know why maybe because I just want to learn to play an instrument. Comedyís kind of hit me right now so we might engage in something like that soon, who knows. I hopefully just have a full spectrum.
Disclaimer:All articles on Shave Magazine are expressly for entertainment and/or educational purposes only. The findings and opinionsof authors expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarilystate or reflect those of Shave Magazine. The information provided in anyspecialty section are only for generalreading. They should not be used for diagnosing or treating a healthproblems, disease or otherwise. No information in Shave Magazine should beused as a substitute for professional care. Shave Magazine assumes noresponsibility for how this material is used. Note that as someinformation changes, it may become out of date.