He was once revealed to be a front-runner for Iron Man, now Olyphant talks about how he nearly got the part of James T. Kirk.
The coveted role of James T. Kirk in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek was naturally a heavily sought-after part by many young actors. Chris Pratt would not be successful during his audition, although he eventually became the captain of another spaceship in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Chris Hemsworth would not land the role, although he did get the part of George Kirk, the father of Captain Kirk. Chris Pine ended up in the captain’s seat, but actor Timothy Olyphant recently revealed that, like Iron Man, he nearly had the role, except this time, his age was working against him.
According to Deadline, Olyphant appeared on the latest episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, and he revealed that he wasn’t even out to audition for Kirk when he was almost given the role. Olyphant recalled, “Here’s what I can tell you about Star Trek: I went in and auditioned not for Captain Kirk, but I remember reading with J.J. Abrams and he’s just a lovely, lovely guy. And just a lovely, lovely audition process. Somewhere in there, I was auditioning for Doc, he’s like, ‘I already got a guy for Doc, so I don’t need you for that. But I don’t have a Kirk.’”
Olyphant continues that his age was the main issue working against him. “I believe it was one of those things where it’s like, they might have been prepared to hire me, but they wanted somebody younger, and [Abrams] was having a hard time finding somebody younger. And somewhere along the line, J.J. called and said, ‘I found a guy, younger, who’s really good.’”
As harsh as it sounded, the Justified star knew it wasn’t something personal against him, and even professed his admiration for Chris Pine. “I have since then met Chris Pine and I am a huge fan of him both on and off screen. I love that guy. He’s a good dude. This sounds very show business-y, but I had the honor, we’re going to say honor, to go to the Golden Globes one year… and I spent most of the evening at the bar with Chris Pine. Just really adored him. What a good guy. I really like his work. He’s one of those guys who makes it look simple and easy.”
He would conclude the anecdote with some kind words for Abrams, “Auditioning sucks and the fact that I remember the audition process fondly says a lot about J.J. Abrams and what a wonderful man that guy is.”