Ah, the "almost" stories. Hollywood is full of them. Movie history is full of near-misses and "what if" casting decisions that could have changed the course of the art form as we know it. Ronald Reagan instead of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca? That would have been a very different movie. Toshiro Mifune instead of Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi? That actually still would have been awesome, albeit in a very different way. Now we've got another one, not nearly as earth-shattering, but pretty darned fun nonetheless: Mark Wahlberg almost co-starred in J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot of Star Trek.
Well, maybe not so much "co-starred." Wahlberg was offered the role of George Kirk, Captain James T. Kirk's father, who appeared briefly at the beginning of the movie, his time travel-related death altering the course of history and jumpstarting an all-new, albeit very similar timeline for the original crew of the Starship Enterprise. It wouldn't have been a big career-altering move for Wahlberg, but it would have dramatically changed the tone of the film, dramatically killing off a big movie star at the beginning rather than a then-unknown actor named Chris Hemsworth, who of course went on to star in Thor and The Avengers.
So what happened? As Wahlberg told Total Film, "I remember [J.J. Abrams] asking me to play Captain Kirk's father in Star Trek, and I tried to read the script, and I just couldn't even... I didn't understand the words or the dialogue or anything. I said, 'I couldn't do this. I think you're really talented, but I couldn't do it.' Then I saw the movie, I was like, 'Holy sh*t. He did a great job.'"
Wahlberg claims to have learned his lesson, adding, "I probably wouldn't pass up an opportunity to work with J.J. again, so if he wanted me to do something that I couldn't fully understand, I would probably give it a shot."
You can watch the clip below. In case you were wondering, the above anecdote came, naturally, after a question about J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII.