Timothy Olyphant appeared on the most recent episode of the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast and looked back at his failed audition for J.J. Abrams’ 2009 “Star Trek” revival (via Entertainment Weekly). The “Justified” star praised Abrams for a wonderful audition process, even though the director ultimately decided to go with a “younger” actor like Chris Pine in the lead role of Captain Kirk.
“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,” Olyphant said. “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.’”
Karl Urban nabbed the role of Dr. Leonard McCoy in the revamped “Star Trek” franchise, but Pine did not yet have the even bigger role of Kirk when Olyphant auditioned. Pine is 13 years younger than Olyphant.
“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,” Olyphant said. “And somewhere along the line, J.J. called and said, ‘I found a guy, younger, who’s really good.’”
“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 continued. “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.”
“Auditioning sucks,” Olyphant concluded, “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.”
Pine earned rave reviews for his portrayal of Kirk in “Star Trek,” which kicked off a new trilogy that included Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013) and Justin Lin’s “Star Trek Beyond” (2016).
Watch Olyphant’s full appearance on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast in the video below.