Taylor Kitsch on True Detective, Call of Duty and Living Out of His Car in L.A.

Actor opens up about the rough road to unexpected stardom

Taylor Kitsch is someone you'll be seeing a lot of, and soon. From his first role—a minor part in Samuel L. Jackson surprise hit Snakes on a Plane—to his breakout part on NBC's high school football drama Friday Night Lights as running back Tim Riggins, Kitsch has taken some huge and unusual risks (and look, even if John Carter didn't pan out the way Disney hoped it would, it's still a pretty good movie). He's been rumored around a major role in the next season of HBO's True Detective for months, and he's starring in a cool new trailer for 72andSunny's Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare campaign directed by none other than Berg himself.

Adweek: How are you doing?

I’m really good. I mean—just to come here and hang out, I love it. I see a lot of old buddies from when I was studying and all that stuff. So, saw the Rangers game on Sunday. I love New York City, so any time I can come and hang out.

You’ve got True Detective coming up?

[Nodding] Mm-hmm. (For the record from sources involved in the negotiations: the deal is close, but not complete.)

It’s a great show.

Yeah, I’m really excited. I’ve just been prepping. It’s been almost a full year since I’ve been on camera, so I’m itching, man. I’m overdue. You’ve just got to grind it out. Even taking this year off was, I mean you want to work, but you also don’t want to just water it down and work for the sake of working. So, it was tough to sit a year out, keeping a finger crossed that I was going to get True.

Is that why you took the year?

Yeah, I mean it was just showing a lot of patience on my end and turning a lot of stuff down because I wanted to be a part of it. And having this meeting with Nic Pizzolatto, it kind of brought me back to when I was here in New York and why I wanted to be a actor, why you struggle and why you don’t quit. And when we’re talking, I mean he’s obviously incredibly smart and passionate, so that rubs off. And you’re just excited to go now. I can’t fucking wait to hit camera. So I’m excited. I loved that first season of it so much. It’s just unlike anything I’ve seen in, you know, I don’t know when. And it was so grounded. It could really happen. This is very similar, and I love that. It makes it more relatable. It makes these guys more real. Nowadays, it takes fucking balls to stand by that and do it that way.

When was the last thing you worked on?

Normal Heart was the last thing I did, which we shot here. And I loved it. I love shooting on location. And that’s one thing, too, I’m excited for True. I mean, we’ll be on location.

Whereabouts?

We’ll be in L.A. I mean, this is a whole new slate.

Did I read that it was set in the 1970s?

No, it’s contemporary. But the characters, I think, are going to have that great tone. I don’t want to give too much away.

No, definitely don’t!

But these guys feel like that old school vibe.

Your Call of Duty spot is great—the first-person perspective is really a cool idea. Are you a gamer at all?