Another Rumor: James McAvoy To Be New Scotty?

Here is yet another recasting rumor for you to mull over, this time for Scotty. The Scottish tabloid The Sunday Mail is reporting that Last King Of Scotland star James McAvoy is the leading candidate to play the iconic engineer in Star Trek XI. The paper cites a ‘studio insider’ saying that "the producers are keen to have a Scot play Scotty." It is hard to judge the validity of this report, but it isn’t a good sign that the paper takes it as a given that Matt Damon has been signed on to play Kirk, quoting their source as saying "they (the producers) think he could form a brilliant double act with Matt (Damon)". For the record, Matt Damon has previously stated that he has yet to be approached by the studio. In addition, negotiations for any roles will not happen until after Trek XI gets an approved budget (with the possible exception of the leads and possibly Shatner and Nimoy).

Not a bad choice
True or not, Paramount could do a lot worse than the 27 year old actor who has been getting very high praise for his work in Last King of Scotland and is reported to be a big sci fi fan as well. has already stated the opinion that a Scot for Scotty would be a good move (although preferring 300‘s Gerard Butler). However depending on the exact timeframe of the movie, McAvoy may be a bit young to play someone who is should be older than Kirk.

Regardless, this and the other reports like this show how a return to the iconic characters of Kirk, Spock, Scotty, etc. gives this film built in promotional potential as both rumors and actual reports of the various recastings will get wide coverage. Until the final casting announcements are complete, these types of reports will become more frequent, take them all (even ones from with the appropriate grains of salt

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Salty or not, it’s good to have an inside track. Thanks.
Shouldn’t Scotty be about ten years older than Kirk? McCoy, too. And Lord only knows how old Spock is.

Bad choice.

Should be Craig Kilborn.

Well first off, I believe this report is totally bogus since everything is still in preliminary stages and casting hasn’t even started.

The actor could be okay, a bit young maybe but hey make-up can make people appear a little older.

Yeah….the guy is way to young. So why bother? Is he that talented in other areas to even be considered? I doubt it……The idea of getting someone that is Scottish however is excellent just find someone a tad bit older and with more meat on his acting bones…..he seems to skinny to me.

Come on, it’s obvious isn’t it? If Paramount wants to relaunch Star Trek in a big way ,and have the franchise around for another twenty years, then they would be best served by casting the entire crew with talented unknowns. If the studio is going to crank out one epic film every two years for the next twenty years they want to be consistent with the same actors throughout the run. Recasting the roles as we go along would only muddy the water. Hiring big names would bring nothing but trouble as they would resist a long run (other commitments), as well as their legitimate concern regarding typecasting. Not to mention the audience would have difficulty in suspending disbelief as they try to accept a “new” Kirk or Spock, especially if they associate the actor with previous work. Start clean with TALENTED fresh new faces. The two exceptions (maybe) would be Gary Sinise as McCoy and Ray Liotta as Pike. These two actors would be superb choices for those respective roles and would probably play ball since their careers aren’t going anywhere anyway!

I know this would never happen, but here’s a thought just the same: If makeup could make James McAvoy look older, I wonder if makeup could make Sir Sean Connery look younger?

Define “anywhere.”
I think Lt. Dan would be great as Bones.

Response to #7 CmdrR: “anywhere”
My point exactly. Sinise was superb as Lt. Dan and he bears more than a reasonable resemblance to Deforrest Kelly in his younger years. Not to mention his considerable acting chops! He would be perfect to pull off that crusty but charming southern doctor! What I meant by “anywhere” is that Sinise is currently labouring within the confines of one of those “paint by numbers” episodic (or is that idiotic?) CSI shows. Being cast in a long run of Star Trek feature films would be a major step up, and a great way to invest his energies, for the next twenty years of his career!

I’m no CSI fan. I agree that Sinise is perfect. All I was saying is he’s got a pretty good gig.
As for Sir Sean, the poor man can barely speak these days, CGI or not.
Quick note on CGI morphing that’s supposed to look like real people… before Paramount has ideas, consider two words: Orville Redenbacher.

I saw your “Orville” on the tube Friday night. He’s as frightning as the Burger King guy..Yikes.
I favor CGI ships… but people???… Not yet. Too Muppetish

#2 TrekNerd – Bad choice.

Should be Craig Kilborn.

Don’t you mean Craig Fergson?

Great, so we have actors only signed up for three movies. Let’s just assume it’s wildly successful and we all embrace the new cast as proper successors to the throne. Then it’s time for movie number 4. Suddenly the actor playing Spock tires of the “ears” and the actor playing Kirk refuses to reprise the role unless he gets a paycheque that would make Tom Cruise blush with envy. No, it’s time to draw a line in the sand. There are so many talented AND STARVING actors out there, you have them over a barrel. Tell them that to get the role they must sign an ironclad contract with reasonable perks and salary that will commit them as long as the studio deigns, no exceptions! If any actor complains during the initial negotiations the producers should look him straight in the eye and yell, “NEXT!”
Oh, and while we’re at it, the contract will also stipulate no storyline suggestions from the actors. The last time we allowed that kind of crap to take place we were stuck with the “whaleshit humour” that literally sewered the entire franchise. Actors are hired to act, not write!


Agreed… and foreign labour is meant to provide their services for pennies a day, in sweltering conditions. The same with children!

Like these people, actors do NOT deserve the chance to better their careers based on their performance on the job.

They exist for the sole exploitation of our desires…. ;)

Perfect, thank you!

p.s. what part of “reasonable perks and salary” didn’t you understand?

I liked McAvoy in Foyle’s War (fantastic program if you’ve never seen it – best acting in a tv show ever; from the main character all the way down to the extras), although it was a small part. I saw him in Lorna Doone, and he was Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Good actor. But I think he’s too tall, too thin, and too young to play Scotty. Based on looks alone (if he could lose the accent), he’d probably make a better Vulcan.

CMON! The British tabloids make up everything…

Re: #1’s “And Lord only knows how old Spock is.” Spock and Kirk are contemporaries and peers, close in age. The potential was there early on, with the long lifespan of Vulcans, to make Spock considerably older than Kirk, et al, but it was established fairly concretely over the years via dialogue that Spock and Kirk are roughly the same age – which, I suppose, works well for a film that wants to show Kirk and Spock meeting at Starfleet Academy for at least part of its storyline.

The idea of “name” established actors like, for example, Matt Damon, playing Kirk and company just strikes me as weird on a knee-jerk level. My instinct is to cast relative unknowns who a wide audience hasn’t associated other roles with – not unlike the casting of Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh as Superman, as opposed to Paul Newman or Nicholas Cage, so that audiences aren’t thinking “Oh hey, the guy from Cool Hand Luke or Moonstruck is playing Superman” instead of just thinking “wow, look, its Superman”. But I also realize what an almost make-or-break film this is going to be for Paramount and for the immediate/mid-range future of “the franchise”, so I am more than content to let talented, experienced, creative people make those kinds of decisions, as opposed to someone like me who has never come within a hundred miles of the film business. I’m going into this film opened-minded and actively wanting to like and enjoy it, so I’m hoping for the best.

#16 – Michael

I was just playing with you… but you have to admit, forcing an actor to play a role for the rest of their life is a little draconian.

By forcing an actor to be forever identified with a particular role may be the equivalent of career suicide. If audiences won’t accept them in other roles because they are typecast, then you can’t blame an actor for wanting to cut ties. Perhaps you forget that actors are artists… and no artist wants to confine themselves to one path forever.

Ask any of the Original Trek alumni… they have said several times over the years that Trek is a blessing and a curse.

To us it’s entertainment. To them it’s their lives. Put your demands into a little perspective.

pues yo no veo mal que sea el joven scotty, es mas hasta da un aire a el.

The fact that there’s ***any*** kind of buzz about ***anyone*** playing these characters is positive. The fact that the tabloids are making up stories is a good thing, because they consider Star Trek worthy of their attention.

I would have thought a Scottish actor playing Scotty was inevitable. James Doohan’s ‘accent’ was the butt of jokes for decades. It’s precisely the sort of issue that the movie needs to deal with in order to be taken seriously by potential audiences!

#13 – “There are so many talented AND STARVING actors out there, you have them over a barrel. Tell them that to get the role they must sign an ironclad contract with reasonable perks and salary that will commit them as long as the studio deigns, no exceptions! If any actor complains during the initial negotiations the producers should look him straight in the eye and yell, “NEXT!” ”

There is no studio that could get away with making a contract like that with any actor. SAG wouldn’t stand for it. Additionally, the actors don’t negotiate, the agents they have do that.

Any actor who already signs for a three picture deal (which is becoming more of the standard today then signing for one and then two more after a successful release) is already committing themselves to not accepting potentially better offers for additional work.

You would be hard pressed to find any actor wanting to be shoe-horned into the same role for 20 years (as an example) who would just love bypassing additional offers to reach wider exposure or perform in venues other than movies.

I have to agree with Anthony, I’m strongly of the opinion XI needs big name actors to be truely successful. But I also think people are rather jumping the gun in talking about actors staying in the same role for twenty years, or for that matter anything more than one film.

The lesson of Superman from the seventies is that the right unknown can lead if he has strong star support (I referring to Hackman and Cooper, nit Brando). And I am convinced ST WILL put plenty of butts in seats–just not enough.

And just in case anyone has forgotten, a Scotsman is NOT required for the role. A Canadian made Scotty an icon. Let’s go with talent first.

I agree that any news about casting at this point is positive. Older, younger…. CGI no CGI, I don’t really care. I just look forward to seeing what they come up with.

I figure we may as well trust JJ–he is the one making this happen and nitpicking his options to death only impedes his potential.

Monday morning rant over!

It is easy to judge the validity of this “news” … if it originates from a British tabloid it’s BS.

Sweet. I really loved James McAvoy in “Children of Dune” mini-series on Sci-fi and his work in “The Chronicles of Narnia”. If they are going for Kirk as a freshman at the academy then it will work perfectly. Personally, I would love to see some not so big name stars who are just really good actors playing the parts for a new Star Trek revival. Hell, maybe then they can afford to do it and not have to worry about it being a flop.

A Scott for Scotty? Great idea. Maybe get a Japanese actor to play Sulu and an African to play Uhura – well, okay, that’s never gonna happen. Halle Berry gotta eat.

I’m hoping we won’t get a Sulu, Uhura and Chekov shoehorned into the movie. If its mostly set during Kirk’s academy days, I’d prefer to see some new characters or new takes Pike, Garrovick, Carol Marcus, whoever. Its really an opportunity to expand the cast of characters and do some different things, so I hope they take it rather than doing the Muppet Babies version of “Star Trek”.

#20 John and #23 DaveM. Whoa folks, let me clarify what I meant. If Star Trek truly wants to come back as a viable franchise (a la James Bond) then a trilogy probably won’t cut it. One movie every two years only makes for a six year run. What are you going to do then, recast the entire crew once again and hope the audience buys it? Whenever the Bond producers hired a new actor to play Bond they were looking for a prolonged tenure as the audience had hopefully Bond-ed (ouch!) with the person playing the role. Also, keep in mind, I wasn’t asking to imprison the cast members. When on hiatus from making a Star Trek epic every two years the actors are free to make any other movies they want. Not to mention if you are asking a talented actor to commit to a multi-year “run” then you would map out a very good compensation package with escalating salary and benefits depending on audience response. What I’m trying to say is that we want actors who are willing to “play ball”, or be a team player. Look at Patrick Stewart; sure, he wasn’t signed up for twenty years, but at least he was willing to stay the course, and pragmatic enough to recognize that it didn’t impede his other acting efforts. What we got in return was a very talented actor who helped elevate the material and gave us the twenty years of entertainment I’m suggesting while making him a very rich man. But, we were lucky with him. Please don’t assume that the next actor cast in a lead role is going to be as accomodating, progressive and open-minded. What we want to avoid is casting some “spoiled brat” as Kirk or Spock who throws a hissy-fit every time it comes around to pre-production for another film. Apparently Shatner’s demands by the end were so unreasonable it’s no small wonder that Paramount killed off his character in the most ignoble and anti-climatic way possible. Shatner was great as Kirk, but come on, recognize a great “gig” when you’ve got one and stay the course! Prima donnas need not apply!

Admiral Deem, James Doohan might have been an icon, but it was for the wrong reason. His Scottish accent was appalling, mostly being his Irish Canadian accent with a shoddy burr. People in the UK, in particular, laughed at him. He was a joke along the lines of Desmond Llewellyn’s Q, especially later on.

A new film can’t afford to have a campy performance in this day and age. Scotty has to be played straight, like he was in the early days, especially in a period circa ‘Where No Man . . .’

Doubtless a beautiful African American actress will play Uhura if she appears. Sulu can be played by anyone of any Asian descent: the character is of mixed Asian background (Sulu isn’t a Japanese name!)

Go with the talent, sure. But there are lots of good Scots actors who could play the role!

#30 – Michael

I truly understand the spirit of where you are coming from… I really do. And in the ‘continuity/canon central’ world of Trek, I know that we would all like quality actors attached to the project for a long duration.

However, besides money, you haven’t addressed any of other issues with your proposal… career development, artistic freedom, long term sustainability. What if the Trek franchise decides to go in a ‘different direction’ after the cast has been typecast? Would you build it into these contracts to continue to subsidize these actors until their retirement since the general audience will no longer accept them in any other role?

Granted that Patrick Stewart was able to shrug his Picard image for X-Men. Perhaps to be more honest, he was lucky that there was a juicy role requiring a bald(ing) man who could project strength and leadership through his intelligence (think Picard in a wheelchair).

Name one Star Trek actor besides Stewart that has managed to have a commerically successful career outside the franchise. It took Shatner 40 years to get critical recognition. Granted that it was his role as Kirk that provided him opportunity over the years… but it was also his role as Kirk that likely immediately disqualified him from many projects.

Your point about James Bond is interesting. Let’s take Sean Connery, who performed in 6 Bond films… throughout the 70s and 80s he struggled to break his Bond image… it took him over 15 years before is ‘comeback’ role in “The Untouchables”. Would your contract have continued to pay Connery while he was busy diong films like “Zardoz” or “Outland”?

In closing, I would say that we agree with our “best wishes”, but the type of contract you are describing very unfair to the actor in terms of their career, something that neither you nor I should wish on anyone.

Instead, what we should hope for is the situation with Johnny Depp and his “Pirates of the Caribbean” character: Jack Sparrow. According to some quotes, Depp has stated that he would return to play the charcter for “Pirates 7” if they continued to produce quality scripts, simply because he loved the character that had been created by him the combined talents of him as the actor, and the writers for the story and dialogue.

So, in other words, since you can’t ask an actor to sign up for a lifetime commitment, instead, continue to offer them work that they simply can’t refuse… because it’s so damn good!

My apologies… Connery starred in 7 Bond films… not 6… :)

I love the idea of Gary Sinise as McCoy and Ray Liotta as Pike. Scotty played by a Scot doesn’t bother me as long as he can act. As for Uhura & Chekov… unless they are doing a lot of jumping in time.. I doubt they will be in the film. Sulu, yes.. because he was there at the beginning (in a different department.). None the less… I think this is going to be a great movie. I look forward to seeing who will play Spock. I am sure they will have to have Gary Mitchell as well.

Have they conrfirmed if Matt Damon will play Kirk? I hear different things. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

#32 John N. Thank you for such an eloquent response, your points are well taken. Isn’t it great that we have this forum to chat about Trek with people around the world? I love it, I tells ya!!

#35 – Michael

And thanks to you for the compliment! I’m used to people just silently disappearing in here if someone tries to counter their argument.

It’s refreshing to bump into someone who is willing to reconsider their viewpoint. In turn, I’ll defintely keep my eye out for your posts in the future to see how you can challenge my perceptions.

Yeah… these forums can be a great place… when you meet the right people… ;)

#36 John N.

Thanks John, and not to turn this into a strokefest, but I want you to know that it’s very rare for me to concede on any point in a debate. I, of course, had to agree with your response since your opinions were so well thought out and expressed. Oh wait, I remember the last time I lost a debate…it was August, 1978. Yeah, that’s it….

#33 – “My apologies… Connery starred in 7 Bond films… not 6…”

Stay with your original assessment. Everyone knows “Never Say Never Again” doesn’t count.

#37 – Michael

No stroking here… but thanks again… I’m honoured. :)

#38 – ety3

That’s funny… “Never Say Never Again” was actually the film that I had miscounted in the first place. It’s like you read my mind… :)

I thought I was supposed to get to pick MY crew….

I’m off the project…

James Doohan… as Scotty, the accent was a bit thick at times, but the character was so loved and respected by fans… thats why he became iconic. Scotty had a lot of heart, as did the man who played him.

Yes, I think it’s great to have a scotish actor play the part, but I don’t think anyone should be dissing James work here. The fact that we are all making a big deal of who should play him in the movie should be seen as a tribute to the man and his work.

Oh, I don’t diss Doohan’s work as such! We all loved Jimmy Doohan’s performance, but Abrams’ movie needs a new Scotty, not new Jimmy Doohan!

Glad we’re not the only ones who have been urging a “Ray Liotta As Pike” campaign.

#40 Matt Damon “I’m off the project…”

Yahooo! Our plan worked! Now that he’s out of the way let’s get them to pick somebody actually right for the part!! You know, someone who can ACT and has CHARISMA???

Ray Liotta as me, I mean Christopher Pike!
I’ve been saying that since Trek XI was first announced.

But I’m not going to invest emotionally in this project until it’s much further along. There are just too many ways it could be a disappointment.


Re: the need for big name actors. I think *some* roles could benefit from a name actor, but there ought to be a limit to how far they take it. The last thing I want to see is an “OCEANS’ 11 TREK” movie, ya know? It gets too cute to have a whole slate of name actors dropping into one movie. And it would distract from what is hopefully a compelling and thrill-filled adventure story. In order for Star Trek to be successful financially, ALL of the elements need to come together synergistically.

“oh and if Scotty is not Scottish it will be crap!”

The original Scotty wasn’t Scottish, and the original Trek wasn’t crap (although I’m sure some people think so).

“#2 TrekNerd – Bad choice.

Should be Craig Kilborn.

Don’t you mean Craig Fergson?”

That’s exactly whom I meant. He looks like a young James Doohan, especially circa Where No Man Has Gone Before, plus with an authentic Scottish accent.

“and not to turn this into a strokefest,”

Too late.

#46 Adam….
ummmm… Oceans 11 Trek
He’s too old, but how about Clooney as Kirk? Some of the attitudes are the same between Shatner and Clooney, as well as the “Bagging the (space) babe” mentality.

And before I get flamed… it’s a joke. He’s too old and not nearly the actor Shatner is… he weighs less.

Ten years ago I remember saying Clooney would be an ideal Jim Kirk.