The facts: Deadline reports that Taylor Kitsch, he of 'Friday Night Lights' and 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' fame, is in talks to join Oliver Stone's adaptation of Don Winslow's novel 'Savages,' where he would star alongside Aaron Johnson as a drug dealer forced to work for a nasty Mexican drug cartel after his best friend is kidnapped. Kitsch would take on the role of "... Chon, an iron-hard former operative who is a remorseless killer and seems to only have room in his heart for his growing partner." Johnson would play that partner and Salma Hayek is being looked at for the role of the head of the drug cartel. And that's the news that's fit to print.
Kitsch is the textbook definition of a rising star. After cutting his teeth on an acclaimed television series and popping up in key roles in popular (if not always particularly good) movies, his career is on the verge of exploding. Two of the biggest blockbuster films of 2012 will have his name above the title and he doesn't look ready to slow down.
Call it the Sam Worthington method of success: You've got to saturate the market with yourself. The audience can't ignore you if you're everywhere.
You can easily draw similarities between Kitsch and Worthington. Neither are from the United States (Canada and Australia, respectively), but both specialize in playing rugged, heroic Americans, occasionally with questionable accents. Both are good-looking without being too pretty, so they're nice fits for leading roles that require a man of action. And, of course, both are trying to worm their way into public consciousness through the geek market. In less than a year, Worthington appeared in 'Terminator Salvation', 'Clash of the Titans' and 'Avatar' and in 2012, Kitsch will be starring in Disney's science-fiction epic 'John Carter of Mars' and Universal's pre-maligned but still slightly intriguing 'Battleship'.
Although seemingly taking every high-profile acting gig that's offered to you will keep food on the table, cars in the garage, boats at the dock and ladies in the bedroom, it's not a guaranteed path to superstardom. Although Worthington's career is in no danger -- he has four films finished or filming -- his putting himself out there in such a big way is a double-edged sword, giving him a great deal of exposure but also opening him up to a lot of criticism from an ever-fickle movie-going populace. Call it the Jude Law Effect or the "This guy? Again?" conundrum: The more you ride the wave of your own growing star power, the more quickly audiences will tire of you.
So, as the title of this post asks, is Taylor Kitsch the next Sam Worthington? We'll have to see how audiences react to 'Battleship' and 'John Carter of Mars,' both of which feel like tough sells ('John Carter' because it's based on a book that hovers outside of the mainstream and 'Battleship' because it's frickin' 'Battleship'), but it definitely feels possible. As long as he doesn't become the next Jude Law first.