Taylor Kitsch and the John Carter Curse

Lainey Posted by Lainey at March 5, 2012 17:10:41 March 5, 2012 17:10:41
This movie seems doomed. It’s been plagued by bad press. People keep mocking the trailer. And now just 4 days before it opens, the movie’s star, Taylor Kitsch, is making headlines for a PR f-ck up that’s turned into an international incident.

OK fine, I’m exaggerating.

But not really.

Last week TK appeared on Letterman. Letterman asked him about shooting in the Philippines. TK says he was harassed by customs. That the customs officers were smoking, that his customs officer denied him entry, that he almost had to bribe him with an iPhone, and that the only way he was let into the country was by showing his John Carter movie trailer.

See the video below. It’s less than 3 minutes.

What’s the problem?

Well, um, TK was never in the Philippines. He was in Indonesia. The Customs Commissioner from the Philippines went online to, well, very gently call Taylor Kitsch an idiot for his irresponsible allegations. Click here to read the response from Philippines Customs.


Please don’t say - I love him, he’s so hot, it’s an honest mistake, let’s not sh-t on him.

Let’s not sh-t on him because he looks good without a shirt on?

I mean, I adore TK too. But ... can we all acknowledge that this was a MAJOR dumbass move? Further, if you’re brushing this off because “he’s hot”, you’re ignoring the sentiment behind that kind of a mistake: it’s OK if you mix up Indonesia and the Philippines because they all look the same anyway! You know those Asians! Can’t tell ‘em apart! Hahahahahaahahahaahah!

Do I think this was his intention?

No, I don’t think it was his intention. But I do think he was careless.

You’ll note from the video that it’s Letterman who brought up the Philippines first. Here’s how it went down: most celebrities who appear on talk shows are pre-interviewed before they arrive. A producer or an assistant will call the guest to come up with a few talking points. TK would have mentioned this story, the Letterman staffer would have recommended it for air time, and then Dave Letterman’s notes are prepared so that he prompts the guest to tell it for the audience.

Since Dave mentions the Philippines first, that’s probably what it said on his notes as given to him by his show team. How did Indonesia become the Philippines? Do you blame the actor who was in Indonesia and hopefully would actually understand that Indonesia isn’t the Philippines, or do you blame the junior producer on the phone with him who doesn’t know the difference?

If you’re a fan of Taylor Kitsch and love him with his shirt off, I’ve no doubt which explanation you’re choosing to go with.

But TK didn’t correct Dave. He just barrelled on with his story. You could argue that it was because he was nervous, he was on Letterman, he was expecting the question, and wanted to be great and charming in his answer to the question, that he didn’t really listen closely to what David asked, he just opened up what was probably a rehearsed speech when Dave threw him the line.

Still... if that was the case, at the very minimum it’s careless. Very, very careless. And dumb. And I think even TK would expect more of himself than careless and dumb.

Here’s TK, with his shirt ON, in the current issue of Corduroy Magazine (Josh Hartnett on the cover). An excerpt from the article is below:

To say that Taylor Kitsch has come a long way would be an understatement. The Canadian-born, model-turned-actor with the homecoming king smile spent months in his 20s as a struggling acting student in New York. He was sleeping in subway cars and subsisting on nuts bought from dingy street vendor carts. Then there was the time the police knocked on the door of a cockroach-infested “shit hole” he was living in with no electricity, and nothing but an old mattress he borrowed from a friend’s girlfriend. His neighbor called the cops thinking there was a fire in Kitsch’s makeshift apartment. It was a false alarm; he had been burning candles for heat.   
“That was a low point, sure,” Kitsch says with a shrug, “but I just wanted to go to class and be an actor and I thought, ‘If this is what I have to do, I’m going to fucking do it.’”
On playing Tim Riggins on “Friday Night Lights”:

“I’m grateful [Friday Night Lights] wasn’t this enormously commercialized show where you’re just pigeonholed to play this one guy the rest of your life,” says Kitsch. “We gained and garnered a kind of respect through our fans and within the business and that’s the best thing you can ask for.”
On dealing with critics and bad reviews:

“If you fucking hate [my films] and say they’re the biggest disgrace, I can laugh at it and go, ‘You know what, I went for it man and you’re not going to hit it out of the park every film but I’m going to try.’”
On why “young Hollywood” is out of touch with reality:

“You gotta take a risk here and there,” he says. “I’m still young. If it doesn’t go well, I know we still swung for the fences.”

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