"Savages" star Kitsch hopes third film's a charm

Tue Jul 3, 2012 5:25pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - He is the face of Hollywood's two costliest U.S. box office flops in 2012, so far, "John Carter" and "Battleship," but actor Taylor Kitsch isn't letting that stand in his way in his quest for good roles and movie stardom.

On Friday, the 31-year-old actor returns to movie screens in Oliver Stone's "Savages," based on author Don Winslow's book of the same name set in southern California's world of drug dealers, marijuana growers and crime gangs.

If all goes well, a solid box office and critical hit might help Kitsch overcome his two earlier bombs. If not, he vows to stay focused and keep working on his long-term goals.

"To be in this film was a dream," Kitsch told Reuters. "I've been in the (acting) game for probably eight years. It's not about just being on screen, but attaining things in your life that no one can take from you, and this is one of them."

Both "John Carter," an adventure on Mars, and "Battleship," about the U.S. Navy fighting aliens, had production budgets over $200 million and came out with all the studio hype that precedes major movie releases. Had either been a blockbuster, Kitsch, straight from the TV show "Friday Night Lights," would have vaulted to superstardom.

"John Carter" made only $73 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices, and "Battleship" is currently around $65 million. The two did much better overseas and enjoy global ticket sales around $300 million apiece. Even so, typically in Hollywood only about half that revenue comes back to a film's makers.

Earlier this year, Walt Disney Co reported a first-quarter operating loss of $84 million for "John Carter" at its movie studio division due in large part to the movie's poor performance in domestic theaters. Final "Battleship" figures have yet to be compiled as it is still in theaters.

In "Savages," the actor is seeking a rebound as a man named Chon, a former Navy SEAL who with best friend Ben (Aaron Johnson) runs a lucrative business growing marijuana. The pair share a girlfriend, O (Blake Lively). When they refuse to yield to demands by a Mexican drug gang to give away their business, the thugs kidnap O, causing Chon and Ben to go after them.   Continued...

Cast member Taylor Kitsch arrives at the premiere of the film "Savages" in Los Angeles June 25, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok