Over the course of his career, Mark Wahlberg has typically stuck to roles that fit his tough guy persona (The Departed, Shooter). However, films like like Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, The Other Guys, The Fighter, and Ted are proof that he's not opposed to being a bit more adventurous with his acting choices.
One genre we haven't really seen Wahlberg take part in is sci-fi (unless you count The Happening), but after accepting the lead role for Transformers 4, he's proven that he's expanding his horizons all the more. Apparently, that wasn't so much the case in 2009 when Wahlberg turned down a role as Captain Kirk's father in J.J. Abrams' immensely successful Star Trek reboot.
"I remember him [J.J. Abrams] asking me to play Captain Kirk's father in 'Star Trek' and I tried to read the script and I couldn't even understand the words or the dialouge or anything, and I said I couldn't do this. I think you're [Abrams] really talented, but I couldn't do it. Then I saw the movie and I was like holy s***. He did a great job, so I think he'll do something spectacular and I probably wouldn't pass up an opportunity to work with J.J. again."
After hearing this, one is forced to think of what might have been. Obviously, the first image that comes to mind is Wahlberg sitting in the captain's chair on the bridge of the USS Kelvin in that tragic, exhilarating opening scene. Feels weird, doesn't it?
Not only that, but it wouldn't have made too much sense for a big name like Wahlberg to take on such a small part (in a world that he didn't really understand, no less). Meanwhile, it made total sense for Chris Hemsworth - who was not well known at the time - to use such a small, yet memorable role as a springboard for a burgeoning career. A dreadful performance in such a role could've hurt Wahlberg's career, whereas being in Star Trek in any capacity could've only benefited Hemsworth (and obviously, it did).
It's safe to say that fans of the new Star Trek franchise are happy with the way things worked out. It's easy to scoff at such a casting decision in hindsight, but it's interesting to think about the possible reactions fans would have had before the film became a success. Although Trekkies were hopeful that Abrams' film would be great, there was plenty of skepticism initially (as there almost always is) and concern that it wouldn't be, so Wahlberg's casting might not have caused a huge stir back then. If anything, Abrams might have received the most criticism for killing off a major star in the opening scene of the film.
Now that Wahlberg is open to the idea of acting within the sci-fi genre, maybe J.J. Abrams will invite him to join the cast of a future Star Trek (or Star Wars?) film. Han Solo Jr., anyone?
Broken City is currently in theaters. Star Trek Into Darkness hits theaters May 17th, 2013.
Source: Total Film
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