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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Taylor Kitsch

Taylor Kitsch: I'm not playing Finnick in 'Catching Fire'

May 31, 2012 | 12:59 pm

Taylor Kitsch will not play Finnick in "Catching Fire"

With casting for the second installment of "The Hunger Games" franchise underway, fans of the dystopian sci-fi series have been breathlessly debating who will play an integral character in "Catching Fire."

Finnick Odair, described by author Suzanne Collins as an Adonis-like womanizer, first appears in "Catching Fire" and has a complex relationship with heroine Katniss Everdeen. So admirers of the series were thrown into a tizzy this week when E! News reported that filmmakers had narrowed down the casting to three heartthrobs: Taylor Kitsch, Armie Hammer and Garrett Hedlund.

But you can knock one of those dreamboats off the list, because Kitsch says he won't be joining the cast of the mega-successful film series.

"Not going to happen," the 31-year-old actor wrote in an email on Wednesday. Kitsch, who is coming off the poor box office performance of the big-budget films "John Carter" and "Battleship," would seem to have fit the bill for the athletic, good-looking character.

As for "The Lone Ranger" star Hammer and "TRON: Legacy" lead Hedlund, the studio behind the franchise, Lionsgate, said it would not confirm, deny or comment on any casting in progress.


'Battleship' debuts weakly at the box office [video]

Taylor Kitsch puts 'John Carter' disaster behind him

How did 'Battleship' escape the 'John Carter' flop furor?

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Taylor Kitsch. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

After four years, Universal returns to CinemaCon with A-listers in tow

April 26, 2012 |  9:01 pm

LAS VEGAS -- Universal Pictures hasn't brought a slate of films to CinemaCon for four years, but this year the studio pulled out all the stops at the exhibitors convention, teasing 10 movies from its slate and putting on a star-studded presentation with more big names than any other studio, including Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and John Travolta.

The footage included scenes from Oliver Stone's "Savages" and "The Bourne Legacy" starring Jeremy Renner; a teaser of "Les Misérables" with Anne Hathaway singing "I Dreamed a Dream"; and a glimpse of the recently delayed Keanu Reeves action flick "47 Ronin."

"Snow White & The Huntsman" received one of the more enthusiastic responses from the audience, who were visibly excited to see Stewart, Theron, director Rupert Sanders and producer Joe Roth emerge from backstage.

Studio chairman Adam Fogelson emphasized that choosing first-time feature director Sanders to helm the film was an unorthodox movie, saying it was "a pretty big risk to hand a movie of this size over to somewhat of a rookie."

Sanders said he was intrigued by the project because the Snow White fairy tale has long been his favorite, describing it as "the least princessy, least pink one" of the folklore tales.

Stewart, who seemed somewhat uncomfortable in front of the large audience, tapped her leg slightly as she called the film the "perfect choice for me. It was something to prove myself in," the "Twilight" veteran said.

Theron, who plays the film's evil queen, said that once the filmmaking team agreed with her vision to take the character "balls to the wall," she agreed to sign on.

"I didn't realize it'd be my balls," Sanders quipped.

The presentation only got more vulgar once "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarlane came out to promote "Ted," the summer comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and a talking teddy bear. The film's trailer has already created an immense amount of buzz in recent weeks, but McFarlane insisted the film has as much heart as it does raunch.

"Despite the tonnage of the language, it actually has a fairy tale undertone that permeates it," he said.


CinemaCon: James Franco, Mila Kunis talk 'Oz' [video]

CinemaCon: Ang Lee's 3-D 'Life of Pi' inspires early Oscar talk

'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' director: U.S. films losing voice

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Kristen Stewart stars in "Snow White & The Huntsman." Credit: Universal Pictures

'Battleship' propelled by action cliches, early reviews say

April 13, 2012 |  5:00 am

Battleship, a board game with no characters or plot, might seem like odd source material for a movie. Then again, recent blockbuster franchises have sprouted from toy lines ("Transformers," "G.I. Joe") and a theme park ride ("Pirates of the Caribbean"), so perhaps it's not much of a stretch. Early reviews of "Battleship," which opens in some foreign countries this week and May 18 in the U.S., indicate that although the film does indeed offer some semblance of a narrative (briefly: humans vs. aliens on the high seas), the storytelling takes a back seat to the explosions.

In the Birmingham (England) Post, Alison Jones says director Peter Berg is channeling Michael Bay, and she characterizes "Battleship" as "'Pearl Harbor' by way of 'Transformers.'" Jones adds that "No action movie cliche remains unmilked in a movie so jingoistic it practically bleeds red, white and blue." Berg, however, does have a sense of humor, and "his decision to just embrace the machismo" earns the film some bonus points in her opinion.

MSN Movies UK also invokes the ghost of action movies past, calling Berg's film "a long, loud and very spectacular actioner that does on the sea what 'Independence Day' did in the skies." But because the film has "an obsession with artillery," most of the characters fall flat: "it's hardly surprising that 'John Carter's' Taylor Kitsch gets lost in the crush as a disgraced officer shocked to find himself in charge of the human resistance." At least pop singer Rihanna has fun as "a spunky munitions ace."

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'John Carter': Critics not over the moon for Mars action epic

March 9, 2012 |  2:07 pm

John Carter

One of the big questions raised by the new science-fantasy adventure "John Carter," based on the old pulp stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs and starring Taylor Kitsch (TV's "Friday Night Lights") as a Civil War hero transplanted to Mars, is whether director Andrew Stanton (Pixar's "Finding Nemo" and "Wall-E") and his team could bring something new to an old and influential story. For movie critics, reactions have been mixed.

The Times' own Betsy Sharkey describes the film as "hit and miss, and miss, and miss." Sharkey laments that "a great story" has been "badly sucked dry" and that "Stanton can't find a way to make Burroughs' now-familiar fantasy themes feel fresh." Part of the difficulty, Sharkey notes, is that so many films have already mined Burroughs' work over the years: " 'Star Wars,' 'Star Trek,' 'Avatar,' 'Superman,' to name just a few." And unlike Kitsch's movie counterpart, the actor does not manage to save the day — so effective on "Friday Night Lights," he "simply fades here," Sharkey says.

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