The film industry is brutal. You can be insanely talented and hard-working, but luck plays such a huge role in your success. Luck and picking the right projects.
Take Chris Hemsworth. He is by all accounts a very good young actor. He first got people's attention in the tear-jerking beginning of the new Star Trek movie as James Kirk's heroic father. Then he took on the iconic role of Thor in 2 hit movies and he was in the cult/critical favorite The Cabin in the Woods. And still on the horizon is has Thor 2, Avengers 2, and the Red Dawn remake. Now, any of these could be missteps, but his star is on the rise.
This brings us to Taylor Kitsch. This should have been his summer. He was sought after for not just one, but 2 franchise pictures: John Carter and Battleship.
John Carter deeply underperformed despite being a fairly decent and fun movie. This is a movie where I very much blame the marketing team that didn't want to alienate female viewers by calling it John Carter of Mars. But because the title is so nondescript, people did not know what to make of the film and interest was low.
Battleship was introduced to the public with cynicism (What was next, Hungry, Hungry Hippos?). But the closer the movie came to release, interest increased and it did fairly well oversees. But The movie failed to make a dent in The Avengers' box office dominance.
Now I don't think that it has escaped notice that Kitsch was the star of both. I think that he will start to be viewed as toxic, even though I don't think that this is fair. He was good in John Carter and even the star power of the great Liam Neeson could keep Battleship afloat. But this business is not fair.
To make matters worse, he has one more movie coming out this summer: Savages. To say that this movie looks awful is an understatement. It is as if director Oliver Stone wanted to make a movie whose very premise would generate zero interest. The plot revolves our heroes who are drug dealers (of legal "medical" marijuana). These 2 friends must save their kidnapped girlfriend from a drug cartel. No, that isn't a typo, I wrote their girlfriend, singular. Maybe I'm seriously out of touch, but how is the average moviegoer supposed to relate to revenge-bound, tricycle-riding, rich potheads?
I predict that this movie will also be a huge bomb and it will hurt Kitsch prospects. Picking your projects is very important and if you pick them incorrectly, it can do serious damage.
Last year Ryan Reynolds was supposed to hit the scene with the one-two punch of Green Lantern and the Change Up, both of which failed to live up to their hype.
Kristen Bell did very well in supporting roles in hits like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Couples Retreat. But she chose two horribly scripted movies, When in Rome and You Again, to be her star vehicles.
All of the actors mentioned here have it within them to be A-List stars. But just as the right project can bring you fame, the wrong one can bring infamy.