Millions of people around the world were introduced to Taylor Kitsch Sunday night. The Canadian actor found himself at the center of two of the Super Bowl’s biggest movie ads for his first two starring roles, in “John Carter” and “Battleship,” but the trailers may not have been the first impression Kitsch was hoping for.
Kitsch made a name for himself starring as the misunderstood bad boy Tim Riggins on the beloved but criminally under-watched NBC series “Friday Night Lights.” Riggins grew dear to the show’s viewers because of the charm and likability Kitsch brought to the character, despite a tough exterior. Throughout the show’s run, it was never a stretch to imagine the actor making the crossover to big-budget action movies with his charisma as hard evidence of his bankability.
But for his Super Bowl debuts, the studios behind “John Carter” and “Battleship” took the focus off of their star and instead cut special-effects shots together, leaving Kitsch as little more than background noise.
The “John Carter” trailer that aired during the game handled its time the most curiously. Beginning with a shot of Kitsch from the film, the footage grew smaller, eventually becoming part of a large collection of footage that formed letters spelling out the title of the film. By the time most of the video appeared on the screen, it was too small to make any sense of it.
What many people may not have known was that an extended version of the commercial, one with full-sized footage from the film, appeared online shortly after. That trailer showed off Kitsch during action sequences instead of zooming away from him.
The ad for “Battleship” approached promoting a big-budget sci-fi movie in a more traditional way, albeit one that also put Kitsch in the background. The spot played more like a commercial for the other series of movies based on Hasbro toys, “Transformers,” and the scattered nature of it might have left people wondering whether the film stars Kitsch, Liam Neeson or Rihanna.
Sure, these are just commercials, but if 2012 is going to be the year that Taylor Kitsch makes the crossover from TV heartthrob to viable action star, studios ought to realize who they’re working with and put the man front and center.
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