While Kitsch’s critically lauded Lights has been a modest success in terms of its reach, this month’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a prequel to the hugely popular X-Men film trilogy, is sure to launch him into superstardom.

“My friends keep trying to tell me what’s about to happen,” he says. Fortunately, Kitsch -- a serious-minded 28-year-old with only a few prior film and TV credits to his name -- knows how to keep a level head. His decision to put down roots in Austin rather than L.A. is a good indication of that. And it’s not the promise of fame and fortune Wolverine brings that Kitsch says he’s most looking forward to but for people to see what he can do. “I feel like I brought [my Wolverine character, Gambit,] off the page as much as I possibly could, so I’m excited,” he says.

If he sounds sure of himself, it’s because he takes his work very seriously, studying all angles of a script with diligence. With his haunting portrayal of the damaged Tim Riggins on Lights, Kitsch has already proven that he’s much more than a pretty face. Now he’s looking to tackle riskier roles that will continue to push him as an actor. “I’m [being considered] for something right now,” he says. “It’s a tiny independent film, and it would be a dream of mine yet probably the biggest challenge of my career. I’m definitely scared going into it, but that means it’s a good thing.”