Chris Hemsworth Reveals Why He Wasn’t Cast As Capt. Kirk – Still Unsure About Return To ‘Star Trek’

Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk in Star Trek

Chris Hemsorth is a huge star now, but a decade ago the Australian actor was mostly unknown. His first breakout role was his brief but memorable appearance as George Kirk, father of James T. Kirk, in Star Trek (2009). In a new interview with More Content Now, the actor reveals that he originally tried for a different role, but didn’t get for an interesting reason:

I’d already done my first movie here, “Ca$h,” a little independent film. I later auditioned for Kirk, James Kirk, but that was very early in the process and I didn’t get it. Then J.J. was trying to find someone for the role of the father, and he remembered someone that looked similar to Chris Pine. He said, “Remember that guy who came in that was too tall? Who was that guy?”

The Thor actor is 6’3″ which would make him significantly taller than the original actor to play Captain Kirk, William Shatner who is 5’10”. This makes Hemsworth the third Hollywood Chris to try out for the role, in addition to Chris Pratt (6’2″) and of course Chris Pine (6’0″).

Hemsworth went on to describe his second audition and time playing George Kirk:

[J.J. Abrams] tracked me down and asked me to come in and read the scene. I came in and he hands me the pages and says, “I loved your audition from six months ago. I just re-watched it. Can you read this scene for me?” This was right at his desk. So, I did the scene. I was reading and he was reading, and he said, “OK, stop. You got the part. See you on Monday.” And I was like “What?” I was excited, but I had no idea what it was going to be. I hadn’t grown up on “Star Trek.” I didn’t know how big this production was going to be. And that was a good thing, because when I got on set I was kind of pretty casual and loose with it. If I’d have known it was this $150 million thing, and J.J. Abrams was who he was, it probably would have scared the hell out of me.

Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk in Star Trek

Hemsworth in the dark about Tarantino Trek

As we reported recently, while promoting his new movie 12 Strong, Chris Hemsworth has said he was unaware of any updates on his return to Star Trek, which was announced in 2016. In another promotional interview with the Toronto Sun the actor talked again about his ignorance about what effect the recently announced Quentin Tarantino Star Trek project has on his possible return. saying:

“I haven’t had a discussion about Star Trek for quite awhile…I don’t know what’s happening. There was an idea that was pitched to me and J.J. some time ago and I was incredibly excited by it”

Chris Hemsworth in 12 Strong

Keep up with all the news regarding the next Star Trek film here at TrekMovie.

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54 Comments on "Chris Hemsworth Reveals Why He Wasn’t Cast As Capt. Kirk – Still Unsure About Return To ‘Star Trek’"

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They are saying Tarantino is looking at “City on the Edge of Forever” & “Yesterdays Enterprise” for Inspiration- could see a time travel story where Kirk has to let his father die again but it would be a bit predictable & done before.

Who’s saying that?

QT has mentioned those episodes in the past as personal favourites. Doesn’t mean that’s his inspiration.

I wouldn’t mind it. Get deep and go “Looper” style with it. Trek fans and general audiences all seemed to fall in love with the opening of the 09 film so it would pull at hearts for Kirk to have to make a decision like that and to me at least, it resonates deeper than Krik having to let Edith die. I mean, your own father… Or, you save the day and it changes everything thus creating a new alternate timeline from the already alternate timeline.

I really doubt it would be anything like that. It could be a time travel story though and those are actually some of the most popular films as TVH, FC and the 2009 film proves.

Yup. If I’m a studio exec and I’m convinced to take another shot at Trek I’m looking at all the things that have succeeded before. Time travel being the big one.

Part of me says “Yawn”
Part of me says FECKYEAH CHRIS HEMSWORTH!!!

It is time for another time travel movie (2 movies between TVH-GEN, two movies between FC-ST09)

I would love to see his return, and was really excited by the announcement ahead of Beyond. I’m pretty sure that idea is dead now, but if it goes forward, I think it could be an emotionally resonant move, given how much of a presence his character has had in the KT so far. It would pay off a lot of things running through the last films. Here’s hopin!

It is hilarious they make “being too tall” an issue for Hemsworth when his masculine face and eye color make him much more similar to Shatner’s Kirk – in contrast to Pine’s big blue eyes and boyish demeanor.

More Troubles, More Dribbles

I agree. It seems they were hell-bent on Zachary Quinto, and needed to make sure Kirk wasn’t taller than him. I think Chris Pines portrayal of Kirk is weak, and doesn’t hold the commanding presence of William Shatner. I’ve seen a couple other of his different portrayals and roles and seems to act each one the same way. I still like him, he’s a decent actor. McCoy is spot on, and appearance-wise so is Spock, but the way he talks is kind of nasally, and doesn’t capture Leonard Nimoy’s deep vocal resonance.

More Tribbles, I agree about McCoy! Yay Karl Urban!

I agree with you on Pine’s early performance as Kirk, and in other movies he did at the time. However, I think Pine’s Kirk deepened in STiD, and is fully the mature, quick-thinking Kirk I love by “Beyond.”

As for casting Spock based on voice, they would have had to look much deeper than an actor’s appearance and intelligence necessary for Spock’s rapid-fire dialogue.
At the moment I’m hard put to think of any young male actor who resembles Nimoy who has a deep bass voice. I know a lot of people have complained about Quinto’s voice, but I still think he did a great job.

Yes I personally HATED Kirk when I saw him in the 2009 film. He was the one negative to me in an other wise enjoybalbe film. He just came off too whiny and too much like a spoiled brat. But of course I knew that would change and oddly enough I fell in love with him in STID. And more so in Beyond. True, he still felt like a frat boy and didn’t have that presence like a Picard, Sisko or even the original Kirk but I really adapted to his version by the third film.

And I just think Pine in general has turned into a great actor. You really see his range in films like Horrible Bosses, Wonder Woman and Hell Or High Water. He do the dramatic, comedic and action role really well and one of the best things about Wonder Woman.

Yes Quinto is a weak Spock. I’d like to know who else was up for that role I’d abyone. I like Quinto but the voice and delivery is so wrong it’s jarring.

Pine is ok as Kirk. He has moments of channeling Shatner that are really good. But doesn’t have the same presence or gravitas but shatner has that unique stage presence that comes from being a stage actor.

Bones could be good. The writing for bones is the worst.

To be fair, Quinto could have done Spock well if he was written and directed well. He had his moments, especially in the first one, where he both looked and sounded close to Nimoy’s Spock. But they just took him in the wrong direction, as they did with all the characters really.

I always thought Quinto was the weakest of the three; his Spock always came across to me as someone trying to sound like a Vulcan than an actual Vulcan. I also think the writing could have been uniformly better for everybody.

I like Chris Pine but wasn’t thrilled with his portrayal of Kirk in the first two movies. But that’s the fault of the writers and director. I thought he did a decent job in Beyond though. And with Spock, I think Quinto did what he could with what he was given, but again I found the writers and director to be at fault. He was written as a ‘nerd’ more than anything, being unnecessarily loquacious. And because of the pace of the films, you have these rushed crowded lines of dialogue that come off as being forced. Nimoy’s Spock was more concise and his speech measured and careful. Data was the one who, as a gag, would talk too much. So if anything, Quinto was channeling aspects of Data more than Spock. It’s a shame too because Nimoy’s Spock would convey what was needed in fewer words, making his intelligence come across naturally, rather than beat people in the head with cumbersome inelegant lines of dialogue that somehow escaped the distillation process. I do like Quinto, and before he was even chosen for the part I was thinking he’d make a good Spock, but he ended up playing Spock all wrong.

Yeah I agree Ash, I kinda hate Quinto’s Spock. I think you nailed it. Hemsworth would’ve made a way better Kirk too.

Ashley,
I think Quinto did the best he could in the circumstances, considering script and direction. As many actors do, he did the character presented on the page.

More Troubles, More Dribbles
I think there was a Klingon ship under cloak that happened to be tracking the Kelvin when the void opened up and the Nerada passed through creating the alternate universe. The Klingon ship may have been hiding among the debris when they quickly de-cloaked and caught commander Kirk in a transporter beam right at the moment when the Kelvin collided with the Nerada. The Klingon’s may have abducted him for information, believing he may know about the unusual phenomena, and have some idea what that ship was. This Klingon ship may have been the one to alert his superiors of the potential threat, thereby resulting in the Nerada being surrounded by Klingon heavy cruisers. The Klingon’s may have sent George Kirk to Rura Pente, and the Enterprise has to infiltrate the prison and free him. Maybe Starfleet get’s some intelligence from an Andorian Admiral who is the grandson of General Shran who served along side Captain Jonathan Archer. Intelligence regarding the whereabouts and disposition of Commander George Kirk who was presumed dead. Upon returning to Starfleet as a former POW, Commander George Kirk is honored with a huge celebration, and back pay. He then get’s to witness his son- Captain Kirk being promoted to the admiralty, and then Spock is elected Pro-consul of New Vulcan. Uhura is promoted to Captain of Communications, but takes a two-year sabbatical to tour the quadrant, promoting her new hit single: ‘Melt your emotions’. ‘Commander’ Chekov and a beautiful princess from the planet Caprina V… Read more »

A good plot for a Taranino Trek. But they must not forget unrealistically bloody scenes with purple Klingon blood. And the storytelling should be not chronical.

Um…………………………

What?

Some folks enjoy submitting spec scripts through TM?

I’m imagining the alternate universe where Hemsworth was cast as James Kirk.
We’d have a Captain Kirk played by an Australian.

Aussie Aussie Aussie!

If they had cast Hemsworth, the character wouldn’t have gotten beaten up on screen like Pine’s Kirk has since the reboot. :)

Why do people MUST assume Tarantino is going to deliver an R-rated Trek? Whats wrong with a hard PG-13? It doesn’t have to be blood and gore or use the F word for an automatic R.

Whatever storyline they decide to do, please no more episodic retellings such as TWOK, or anything we have seen or done before. Why not a decent, fresh, sci-fi adventure? I’d like to see some new technology much like we had tricorders in TOS, nanites and PADDs in TNG. Talk to some of the leading scientists today to find out what the future technology could be and work that into the story somehow.

Agreed, JoeTrek, I’m pretty tired of rehashed ideas.
Most specifically, a Big Bad Villain Threatening the Entire Galaxy.
Unless it’s the Doomsday Machine. That’s a “rehash” we haven’t seen and could be well updated.

That would be cool Marja, or something deep and allegorical like climate change. THAT’s the Trek I wanna see, something that probes our own failure to respond to a crisis of our own design, and how we face the enemy within. Doomsday Machine is kinda like a force of nature in that regard, but it’s more specifically about nuclear war, which also would be pretty relevant these days.

Regarding the rating: People assume that Tarantino is going to deliver an R-rated TREK because, supposedly, he specifically requested that rating.

Chris Hemsworth has quite the ego, and a selective memory. He didn’t get the role of James Kirk because he is NOT a very good actor. Period. Honestly, when he popped up in Thor, I figured they went down to Venice Beach and cast the only person there who LOOKED the part. He might be good looking and built like a brick shithouse, but he has little acting ability and ZERO charisma on screen. His performance in ‘Avengers’ is painful to watch.

Care to argue this point? Watch any Thor movie where Hemsworth is in the same scene with Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins. They are wonderfully skilled actors, he is an embarrassment to watch.

He was pretty good in ghostbuster. The movie sucked but he was pretty good.

@Harry Ballz — you might be right about the way it looks as if they cast Thor, except look at that picture of him as George Kirk … He’s half the size of Thor. Based on the timeline, he was cast in Thor and then bulked up, as most of these actors do. And most likely with the aid of science as so many trainers in Hollywood charged with such transformations are fond of using.

As far as acting ability is concerned, those opening 10 minutes with Hemsworth easily outshine any moment with Pine in the rest of the film or the next.

But you are correct, his height was not the primary factor in why he lost the job, but I believe it was probably a factor, when they were basically choosing between a final selection of interchangeable, mediocre choices. He just remembers it that way, or that’s what he was told, all to serve his fragile ego. Ah Hollywood.

@Curious Cadet – I did enjoy Hemsworth in those opening 10 minutes- in fact, I’d argue that those 10 minutes are, to date, the best dramatic acting I’ve seen of his, including Rush. He’s improved in the years since, especially in comedy, but I’d argue that back in 2009, he likely couldn’t carry a movie. Not to mention, we’re now in 2018, and he still does not seem capable of holding an American accent for very long.

I like him as Thor personally and while some of his lines felt forced in Thor 3 he was fun to watch. But honestly outside of the Marvel films I haven’t seen him in much of anything else to compare. I did see him in Blackhat. The film was boring as sin but I liked him in that.

I’ve always liked him. He plays thor perfectly. A lot of fun. And his scenes as George Kirk were probably the best scenes in that film. He might not be Daniel Day Lewis but he’s fine.

TUP,
We agree on Hemsworth!

I’ve always found Chris Hemsworth to be a bad actor. He actually makes the MCU films he is in unwatchable.

If the Hemsworth Trek is never made, I hope we someday find out what J.J’s idea for it was.

I’d be very interested in a story where Hemsworth returns as Kirk’s father, but “Thor” wouldn’t come cheap anymore, that’s for sure. Agreeing with others here, I think Quinto was the weakest of the three mains as well – and the writing for ‘weepy’ Spock in all three films was way off-kilter for the character, in any universe. Of the three, Urban nailed it the best, IMO. As others have said, Pine wasn’t bad, but personally I think they should have gone with Joshua Jackson, who auditioned (and wound up as one of the leads on JJ’s ‘Fringe’ as a result), and is a huge Trek fan. Anyway, it all comes down to the writing, which was pretty sub-par, especially in STID. Here’s to hoping Tarantino can make something truly resonant and memorable.

Hemsworth as Kirk 2009 scenes:

Kirk (towering over Spock): You NEVER loved your mother!!
Spock: ok.. just don’t hit me. please. (backs away sheepishly)

*

Nero: I know your face from earths history!..James T Kirk was a great man, but that was another..*WHAM*

LOL! The story states Shatner is 5’10

5’8 max

Hes always been a bit shorter than Nimoy at 6’0

Maybe in an alternate timeline he could have been born at 6.5 months old ( Early January instead of Mid/late March) like Kelvin Kirk. Then, he would have been taller than Spock.

Watch the Colombo episode with Shatner in it. He wore lifts in that episode and it was part of the plot.
Shatner is probably 5’8 now due to age. Probably got to 5’10 to 5’11 back in the day with lifts.

I met Shatner in 1974 and we chatted for a good 10 minutes. I’m 5’10” and it seemed Shatner was a little bit taller than me. He might have had ‘lifts’ in his shoes, so who knows…

what did you talk about for 10 minutes?

I was an usher at the Uptown Theatre in Toronto. Shatner and his wife (at the time) had just seen ‘Don’t Look Now’. His wife went to the washroom and Shatner was standing in the lobby, waiting for her. I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity, so I engaged him in conversation. His wife was gone for at least ten minutes (bless her), so I had him all to myself. I figured he was sick of hearing about Star Trek (in 1974!), so I talked to him about everything else under the sun. He was both friendly and cordial to me.

His wife, at the time, must have been Marcy Lafferty, who was Chief Difalco in TMP.

It was Marcy. While she was in the can Shatner asked me how ‘Don’t Look Now’ was doing (for box office), and I said, “not as well as ‘American Grafitti’”, which was playing at the same theatre. Shatner said, “Really? My wife saw it, she didn’t like it.” I chuckled and replied, “Well, she’s in the minority. Everybody loves it!” Shatner just looked at me deadpan.

notice in some eps/movies Shatner is wearing high heeled boots and nimoy is in flats with no heel at all on his boot.

@nasty man — and this is why height doesn’t matter at all, particularly in Hollywood today.

5’10 is a bit shorter than 6.

There can be a lot of things said about JJ, but I would argue with anyone that as far as look, both Chris’s look a bit like Shatner, and Pine was a good fit as far as the “look”. And Hemsworth is too tall.

Hemsworth hasn’t heard anything because he’s not in it. He knows that by now.

By that logic none of the main cast is in the next movie since none of them have heard anything at all either and have said so repeatedly.

The crazy thing is they may not be in it either. We’re assuming this will have the same cast but it could be another reboot completely. I have a feeling it will be the KT actors but who knows? Its clear Paramount wasn’t exactly excited for another film after Beyond and if QT wants to go another direction entirely they may just do that.

Which I am entirely ok with! Disco has shown us that Trek can be darker, edgier, and with a completely new cast and still be intriguing. If QT takes the reins, I kinda hope he launches a new cast, just to show that it can be done, that anyone can take Trek and make it into something good. It’s a massive universe. You can literally do anything. And I also just feel like the KT actors wouldn’t fit well in a QT film.

There is no way Shatner is 5’10”