|Actor Taylor Kitsch attends the "Savages" New York premiere at SVA Theater on June 27, 2012 in New York City. (Stephen Lovekin/AFP)
Poor Taylor Kitsch.
The Canadian actor has been quietly working his way up the ladder, building his profile through the critically lauded TV series Friday Night Lights and films such as The Covenant, The Bang Bang Club and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Things continued on the up-an-up as the Kelowna native, 31, was cast in two of 2012's much-ballyhooed blockbusters - John Carter and Battleship. Those tentpole pictures had the potential to catapult the actor onto the A-list.
Then those films were released.
There was a funny smell around John Carter even before the movie was put before the public - when some genius somewhere decided that a sci-fi adventure originally called John Carter of Mars should just be called John Carter. Rumour had it that the disastrous box office results for Mars Needs Moms was one reason why the Mars angle was buried.
Go figure. Anyway, John Carter tanked in theatres and no amount of catch-up will detract from the negative feeding frenzy the film generated upon release into theatres.
When the movie Battleship was likewise given the thumbs-down for excess and bloat, Kitsch found himself in the unfortunate position of being a common denominator in both movies. It makes as much sense to blame Kitsch for Battleship as it does to suggest that the film will end Rihanna's singing career, but that doesn't stop the blame-layers from going to work.
Funny that nobody questioned the wisdom of pushing Hasbro's luck by creating another movie from a game or toy ...
At any rate, when Savages opens in theatres Friday, maybe nobody will be more interested in the movie's success than Kitsch, who stars with Blake Lively, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta and Salma Hayek. The movie concerns a pair of successful pot growers (Kitsch and Taylor-Johnson) who go up against a Mexican drug cartel to rescue their kidnapped girlfriend.
After Battleship sank, Savages' director Oliver Stone sent Kitsch this e-mail: "With any job there is always going to be self-doubt that creeps in, but know that you are going to have a long career."
The director also compared Kitsch's bad luck in being in John Carter to Steve McQueen's comparable bad fortune of starring in The Blob (1958).
Anyone old enough to remember Heaven's Gate knows that there are other films way ahead of Battleship and John Carter on the list of box-office failures. And if Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis can survive Bonfire of the Vanities, if Patrick Wilson still gets work after The Alamo and if Susan Sarandon survived Speed Racer, Kitsch can likely bounce back.
In the midst of all the furor, Kitsch has said, "I know personally I literally did everything possible I could have in John Carter, and in Battleship and in Savages. That's why I prep so hard, and why I push myself so hard, so I can have no regrets."
Who can resist that chin-up Canadian style?
As the former model put it, "I wouldn't have done anything different, and that allows me to move on.
"I guarantee you I will never stay down."