War is hell. Even when it's make believe.
Starring as Kevin Carter, one of the four brave "Bang Bang Club" photographers who chronicled the mass violence that occurred in the early 90's as South Africa transitioned to Apartheid to free country, Taylor Kitsch underwent a massive physical and emotional transformation that took an epic toll on his body and mind.
Kitsch, speaking to New York Magazine, spoke about the training and weight loss regime -- he dropped 35 pounds in two months -- that he had to go undergo to prepare for the taxing part.
"It wasn't smart. I tried to run at least ten miles a day on fruit and coffee. Just barely any protein -- I was ripped at the time, so I had to lose all the muscle," he said. "I remember doing the physical in Texas, and because I was running so much, I had a very low heart rate, and it got super low."
Even worse than the physical suffering was his mental exhaustion.
"So that was physically, and then just the challenge emotionally to get there every day for Kev: The last few scenes, he's just a wreck, and to play that honestly, it just took a lot out of me," Kitsch continued. "You almost f***ing kill yourself to get there. You need counseling, you need all this s*it to come out of that character."
And as he told the magazine, counseling wasn't an exaggeration -- he did need to seek treatment for the experience.
"I did, yeah. Maybe a bit too Method, I guess, because he is suicidal. You just try to reengage slowly with family and close friends, you know," Kitsch remembered. "Because you just go on this crazy endeavor and then all of a sudden, a day later, you're back in Austin, Texas, going for your morning coffee at your place, and you're like, 'Man, what just happened?'"
A now-healthy Kitsch has a busy year. His "Friday Night Lights" is finally showing its finale season on NBC, and he will appear in the live action Disney epic "John Carter From Mars." He's also in the midst of filming "Battleship" with Rihanna and Alexander Skaarsgard. While a recent report had Jeremy Renner winning the lead in the new Jason Bourne films, Kitsch was part of a rumored shortlist for the prominent part back in February.
"The Bang Bang Club," which made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival, will screen this week at New York's Tribeca Film Festival. Ryan Phillippe co-stars.
For more from Kitsch, click over to NY Magazine.