Posted on Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
You might remember, that before the cast of Star Trek was officially announced, it was widely rumored that JJ Abrams wanted Matt Damon to play Captain James T Kirk. It has been one of those internet rumors that has become sort of a mystery, with different sides giving different “stories.” IGN asked Damon about the reports during the Bourne Ultimatum junket, and Matt brushed it off as a simple “internet rumor”. When asked if he was offered the role of James T Kirk in the Star Trek reboot, Damon responded with the following:
“I know JJ, and I talked to him and said ‘what is the deal?’ and he said ‘no. the Kirk in my movie is much younger. These are the early years… I think he’s hiring a twenty year old actor…”
“I actually approached Matt and we had some discussions, but everything happens for a reason. On the one hand, it would have been great to work with Matt – but at the end of the day, it was such a better move to cast the movie with unknowns.”
We’ve always wondered who was telling the truth. What was the truth? And now, we have a clarification from Abrams, which we believe to be — the truth. What is the truth? Was Matt Damon offered the role of James T Kirk in Star Trek? No… But he was offered a role in Star Trek. Details after the jump.
In a recent interview with MTV, Abrams offered clarification on the Damon casting story. He did offer Damon a chance to be in Trek, but not as Captain Kirk. Or… I should say… not as THAT Captain Kirk.
“I did [approach Damon], but not for the role of James Kirk. I went to Damon for the role of Kirk’s father, and he declined in the most gracious and understandable and logical of reasons. We lucked out with Chris Hemsworth, and he did a great job. Maybe it would have been distracting to have someone as massively famous as Matt Damon in that role. … The decision was made very early on to have actors who were not necessarily the most famous but the most right for the role.”
So there you have it.
And for those interested, here is that original 2007 IGN interview where Damon calls the casting report “just internet rumors”:
Thanks to /Film reader miguel7378 for the tip.