Chris Pine ended up getting the lead role in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek trilogy. That doesn’t mean there weren’t other strong competitors. Timothy Olyphant recently appeared on the Happy Sad Confused podcast to talk about the auditioning process, and revealed how he almost landed the role of Captain Kirk — and why he thinks he may have lost the role to Pine.
“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 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.’”
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“I believe it was one of those things where it’s like he might have been prepared to hire me, but they wanted somebody younger, and he 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.’”
Olyphant says despite the competition, he harbors no ill will towards Pine, who he calls “a good dude.” (“What a good guy. And I really like his work. He’s one of those guys who makes it look simple and easy,” Olyphant added.” Plus it all worked out; Olyphant got to become a major player on Star Wars instead of Star Trek, thanks to his guest-starring roles on The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.