Taylor Kitsch went to Indonesia, not PH

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2012 07:29 PM | Updated as of Mar 03 2012 09:33 AM

Taylor Kitsch went to Indonesia, not PH 1
Hollywood actor Taylor Kitsch
MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE)  - Hollywood actor Taylor Kitsch, best known for playing a football player in the NBC series "Friday Night Lights," made a mistake during a recent interview on the "Late Show With David Letterman."

In the interview, Kitsch said he was stopped by a Customs officer in the Philippines where he was supposed to film Oliver Stone's new film "Savages."

Trouble is, "Savages" was filmed in Eastern Indonesia, and not the Philippines.

In his interview, Kitsch said he had just arrived in the Philippines when a Customs officer told him he had to return to Japan because there were no more pages in his passport.

"I'm in the backroom and he said, you're going back to Japan...He said, 'There's not enough pages. You're out of pages, so I can't stamp it. You're gone.' I'm like, I can work here, I've got the visa. He didn't believe I was an actor so I'm literally pitching myself to this guy," Kitsch said.

Kitsch even told the customs officer that he worked on other films and was working with John Travolta on "Savages."

Since the airport's computers were not working, Kitsch used his iPhone to show the customs officer the trailer of his newest film "John Carter." The customs officer, however, was more interested in Kitsch's iPhone.

"Their computers are not working. So I told him, 'You gotta look me up, I can show you something to prove (that I'm an actor)' and he said, 'You are on the next flight to Japan,' reminding me again. And then I'm looking on my iPhone because their computers weren't working. And he's like, 'Hey, can you get me one of those?' And I'm like, 'Can you let me in and I will give you one of these.' And he still not believing (me)," Kitsch said.

"Finally, I show him the trailer of John Carter on the iPhone and he stopped and he's like 'Oh my God, what's that?' And it's the great white ape that's in the trailer. And he’s like, ‘That’s not you.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ He’s like, ‘You have short hair.’ And I’m like, ‘Mate, I cut it. It grows. It’s me.' So, then finally he's like, 'I love trailer, go ahead you are in.' So, John Carter got me through customs."

Airport records

According to Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, initial investigation conducted by the Bureau of Immigration showed that there was no record of the actor’s arrival in the country.

“After a thorough search, Immigration did not find an arrival entry for Mr. Kitsch. Thinking that he might have had a different name in his passport and Taylor Kitsch was a screen name, I checked with US authorities and they confirmed that the name on his passport was Taylor Wade Kitsch, born April 8, 1981,” Biazon wrote in his blog.

Biazon also said there were no records of Kitsch’s customs declaration form required when entering the Philippines. 

“What is becoming more apparent is that Mr. Kitsch was mistaken with regard to the country he was talking about. Not having a record of his visit here and his film having a shoot in another country only means his story lacks the factual basis,” he said.

Biazon also noted that based on Kitsch’s story, the arrival process he underwent was not within the mandate of the Customs bureau.

“It is not within the scope of work of Customs to ask for a traveler’s passport to put a stamp on it; and it is definitely not within the authority of Customs to send a passenger back on a flight outside the country and deny entry into the Philippines,” the Customs chief said.

He added that if Kitsch’s film “Savages” did shoot in the Philippines, it wouldn’t have escaped media coverage, citing the fanfare caused by the Manila shoot of “The Bourne Legacy” recently.

“The arrival of Mr. Kitsch in Manila, much more a shoot directed by Oliver Stone, wouldn’t have escaped the vigilant media and the star-struck Hollywood movie fans. But there was no news whatsoever of Mr. Kitsch’s Manila arrival,” said Biazon.

'Lost pride'

Biazon appealed to Kitsch to help redeem “lost pride” because of the mix-up, saying that an incident like this undermine the efforts of the Bureau of Customs to reverse its negative image.

“In the meantime, Mr. Kitsch, perhaps you can help us redeem our lost pride. Not just my agency, but my country as well,” he said.

Biazon also assured the public that, if proven true, malicious behavior by airport officials will not be tolerated.

“I have constantly conveyed to my fellow workers in the Bureau of Customs our need to rehabilitate our image and the only way to do it is for us to act in a manner worthy of the people’s respect. If incidents like that occur, I am sure to immediately look into it and act correspondingly. Discipline those who err and commend those who do good,” he said.

(Eds: ABS-CBNnews.com has unpublished its story, "US actor tells Letterman about NAIA experience," which quoted Kitsch as having said in the "Late Show with David Letterman" that this incident in the airport happened in the Philippines.)