Taylor Kitsch, forever young and forever Texas, turns 30

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It's a slow news day (even by Friday standards) so forgive us for a moment if we briefly break from current events to wish a happy birthday to one of the greatest people ever.

April 8, 2011, marks the 30th anniversary of "Friday Night Lights" star Taylor Kitsch's arrival here on earth -- via human birth, or, the much more likely scenario, as a divine gift that materialized out of nothing for all to gaze upon and adore.

This isn't just any old birthday. The big 3-0 finds Kitsch at an interesting point in his career. The series that introduced him to audiences, and proved his talents to be more than just superficial, recently came to an end. And while he's still not one of the most recognizable names in Hollywood, that will likely change with three high-profile roles set to premiere in the coming year and a half.

First up, Kitsch is playing the lead in Disney's "John Carter From Mars," a science fiction/fantasy about a Civil War veteran who falls asleep in a cave and wakes up on Mars. It sounds absurd, but it's based on a classic genre series of books, and suffers from an excessive amount of hype. "Mars" is scheduled for release Mar. 9, 2012.

After that, Kitsch also has the lead in "FNL" creator Peter Berg's $140-million budget "Battleship." Plot details are almost nonexistent, possibly because the film lacks one, but it's still going to be a coup for Kitsch when it comes out May 18, 2012.

Then our man migrates from CGI-heavy blockbusters to awards bait. He's starring in Oliver Stone's adaption of Don Winslow's 2010 novel "The Savages" -- which is rumored to be Stone's return to making legitimately good movies. It's expected to hit theaters later in 2012.

"But it's 2011, and we want Taylor Kitsch now," you say. Well, you're in luck. "The Bang Bang Club," a drama about photographers documenting the end of Apartheid in South Africa starring Kitsch, Ryan Phillippe and Malin Akerman, goes into limited release April 22. And for you "FNL" fans who didn't catch the DirecTV run of the final season, it premieres on NBC April 15.

For now, we're just going to indulge a Google Image search...

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Photo/Video credit: NBC, Men's Health