Taylor Kitsch is a Canadian actor and former Abercrombie & Fitch model. You may recognize him from the X-Men: Wolverine movie (rated PG-13), the TV show Friday Night Lights, and most recently, the sci-fi, Martian Civil War movie, John Carter (rated PG-13). We interviewed Taylor to find out more about John Carter, Taylor's first date, his Swahili tattoo, and his charity work in Africa.
Q: Were you scared to do any of the stunts? How did you prepare for them?
Taylor: Sure. There are times when you're 150 feet up in the air hanging on these wires, and you're going to free fall for a couple seconds at least, you know? It sometimes crosses your mind, the "what if" moment. There's a scene where I'm in the great white ape arena, and that was an 80-foot jump that was quite intense. I mean, you're landing on a four-inch mat, which isn't exactly the most ideal landing to have. So there are definitely times where right before they call, "Action!" that you're just going, "I don't know how this is going to end."
I trained on wires for months, and then just the regular workouts to get right for where I wanted John Carter to be. I gained a bunch of weight and then it was a diet regimen for a total of 11 months.
Q: What was the first thing you ate after the whole thing was over?
Taylor: I love pizza, so that was the first thing. I think I had two or three of them – whole ones. [Laughter]
Q: John Carter is a human who ends up on Mars. Can you relate to feeling out of place?
Taylor: Oh man, I think there are little moments, you know. I don't love press, and to be out in the middle of it is . . . sometimes you just feel out of place. It just doesn't feel right. I love my private life, so when you have to go and do these things for the job or whatnot, you feel out of place. Interviews, I can do all day long. I don't mind that, but just being out like, you know, your picture, people following ya or something like that. It's not a comfort zone for me.
Q: What was your first date like?
Taylor: I had like my first date when I was in grade six I think, and I still regret not kissing her at the end of the night. That was a big thing for me. I freaked out. I was too scared. [Laughter]
Q: What kinds of books do you like?
Taylor: You gain inspiration daily when you're reading. I love the escape, but I also love to read about people that have accomplished amazing things. Everyone's struggled or taken a risk at some point to get where they are, you know, that are worth reading about. So I love reading true stories and adventures that have truly happened. From Martin Luther King to Steve Jobs, I love to just get into their heads and see what did and didn't work, and how they became who they became. It’s inspiring.
Q: If you could go in a time machine back to when you were 12 years old, what advice would you give yourself?
Taylor: Um, man, that’s a good question. I was lucky enough to be raised in a small town where, you know, the forest was my playground. It wasn’t video games like it is today, and I would just be like, “Get outside and truly explore that imagination.” I truly attribute so much of that to where I am today. I’m just exploring and meeting new people and new adventures. I would say, "Experience as much as you can, and be as open as you can to these things."
Q: Do you have a personal motto?
Taylor: Yea. I say, “No regrets.” It’s quite simple, but it takes a lot to live up to that, by the way, if you think about it. I work in Africa quite a bit so I have Swahili word tattooed on my ribs that means "Without regret." I work with a charity, the African Children’s Choir. And this charity takes kids from war-torn areas, villages, and slums, and schools them, houses them, feeds them, and creates a choir with this group that travels the world, and raises money for their own cause.
Q: What would a perfect day be for you?
Taylor: Oh man. I’m building my home in Texas on the lake right now in Austin, so a perfect day would be probably just waking up whenever I feel like it in that home and waking up to the lake. Then I would have some of my best friends come over for a barbecue, maybe get out in the boat on the lake, come back and have another barbecue, and just hang out and laugh with my best friends.
Interview by Marie Morreale
Image courtesy of Disney