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Kelowna-raised actor's star on rise with latest film role

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Taylor Kitsch, far left, appears in a scene from the new American film Lone Survivor along with, from left, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch. Kitsch grew up in Kelowna before moving with his family to Vancouver.
Martians and other aliens nearly shot down a Kelowna actor's career in Hollywood.
But Taylor Kitsch's dramatic fortunes seem to be on the rise again with the release this weekend of another film in which he plays a starring role.
Kitsch, who grew up in Rutland, now stars alongside Mark Wahlberg in Lone Survivor.
"Taylor is a super hard-working actor and he's totally dedicated to his craft," Kitsch's cousin, Trent Kitsch, a Kelowna developer, said Friday. "He's really on his way up."
Unlike Kitsch's two most recent movies, John Carter and Battleship, Lone Survivor is getting positive reviews from critics. It has a 74 per cent, or "fresh," rating on the popular movie website Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie is based on the true story of four U.S. Navy SEALs sent on an ill-fated mission to kill a top Taliban commander during the war in Afghanistan. Kitsch plays Lt. Michael Murphy, the on-ground leader of the mission.
Toronto Star movie reviewer Peter Howell writes that Kitsch gives an impressive performance, and says his "measured intensity goes a long way to redeeming an acting career besmirched by Battleship and John Carter."
The celebrity-oriented VH1 website says Lone Survivor "could be the movie that retrieves Kitsch's career from the ashes."
Kitsch, 32, grew up in Kelowna but later moved with his family to Vancouver. In interviews, he has described being homeless in New York and living in his car in Los Angeles early in his acting career.
His break came in 2006, when he landed the role of a troubled high school quarterback in the NBC series Friday Night Lights. While his performance in the show, which ran for five years, was critically praised, Kitsch has had a rocky transition to the movies.
Battleship, a 2012 film loosely based a children's game popular in the 1970s, depicted the American military repulsing an alien invasion. It cost $210 million but made only $65 million in the U.S., though it was more popular overseas.
John Carter, also released in 2012, is a time-travelling space epic about a Confederate soldier who ends up on Mars. It lost so much money - an estimated $200 million - that it cost a former Disney studio boss his job.
Despite those setbacks, Kitsch continues to land high-profile roles. He'll star alongside Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo this May in an HBO movie, The Normal Heart, about the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York in the early 1980s.

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