Before the cast of Star Trek was announced there was a rumor floating around that Matt Damon had been approached to play James T. Kirk, the role Chris Pine eventually played. At the time Damon told IGN that it was “just an internet rumor” and that “the Kirk in [the] movie is much younger. These are the early years… I think [Abrams is] hiring a twenty year old actor”.
Now, 2 years on, we finally get the truth as Star Trek director J.J Abrams recently spoke to MTV about the rumors and Damon.
MTV: There was all this talk in terms of when you guys were starting to nail down casting. Everyone from Matt Damon to people we haven’t heard of were in the running. How much of that was true? Did you ever consider going with a big name like Mr. Damon?
Abrams: I did, 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.
I’m quite glad Damon turned it down. I was always conscious of the fact that Spock’s mother was Winona Rider whenever she was on-screen, and it would have been the same with Damon. Chris Hemsworth did a great job, and he’s now preparing for Thor, so Matt Damon actually did him a favour.