Why Joe Cornish Turned Down 'Star Trek Beyond'

In 2013, Joe Cornish was primed to be the next successful indie director who would make the leap to the big-budget blockbuster. J.J. Abrams had just taken himself out of the running to direct the third Star Trek to helm Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Cornish was coming off the cult success of 2011's Attack the Block. We just needed that one report with that all-important word: "Confirmed."

But Cornish turned down Star Trek. Justin Lin would take on directing duties of Star Trek Beyond, while Cornish wouldn't come out with another film until 2019's The Kid Who Would Be King. But why did the British filmmaker turn down what would have likely been his big break? Six years later, Cornish finally reveals why.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Joe Cornish confirmed that he was in early talks to direct the third Star Trek movie, but decided to turn it down:

"I talked to J.J. about that pretty early on, but then decided I wasn't ready for it. Because it's a big old franchise, and I've had friends who've gone straight from indie movies into big blockbusters, and have come out the other end a little bit bruised and battered, and not necessarily feeling it's their film. I love the idea, but then eventually I thought that if I had the opportunity to do something of scale, that it would be cooler to do my own thing."

Cornish is speaking about a pretty well-known phenomenon at this point: studios plucking a successful indie director out of obscurity to helm their latest blockbuster. It's often a win-win for both, with the studios gaining an out-of-the-box auteur to give a fresh perspective to the tentpole, while the indie filmmakers get a platform to launch their careers.

But the results can be mixed. Sometimes it ends in the studio firing the director for their unusual approach (Phil Lord and Chris Miller on Solo: A Star Wars Story), or the studio running so much interference that the filmmaker ends up disowning the movie, or the filmmaker simply parting ways over the classic "creative differences." Cornish, who is close friends with filmmaker Edgar Wright, is probably talking about the latter and Wright's brush with Marvel over Ant-Man.

Instead, Cornish went another route, taking six years to develop his second feature film, the charming family adventure The King Who Would Be King. While he's taken the long way round, it's still not too late for him to helm a blockbuster, or even a Star Trek movie. Star Trek 4 is only gathering dust on the shelves.