Timothy Olyphant Lost Out On Major Star Trek Role Because He Was Too Old

By Britta DeVore | Published

timothy olyphant
Timothy Olyphant in The Mandalorian and Chris Pine in Star Trek Beyond

While he may have been one of the best things about Scream 2 and proved to leave audiences wanting more following the finale of Justified, Timothy Olyphant recently revealed that he was passed over for the role of Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 sci-fi action flick, Star Trek. During a recent episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Santa Clarita Diet star blaming his age for him losing the role to Chris Pine.

Still, Olyphant remained thankful to the film’s director, even though he decided to move forward with the “younger” actor.

Timothy Olyphant reveals he auditioned for the role of Captain Kirk for 2009’s Star Trek, but lost out because J.J. Abrams was looking for a younger actor.

During his sit down, Timothy Olyphant shared that he “went in and auditioned not for Captain Kirk, but I remember reading with J.J. Abrams and he’s just a lovely, lovely guy.” Giving some information as to what the audition process was like for Abrams’s Star Trek feature, Olyphant also described it as “lovely” and shared that he had initially gone in for the role of Doc, a part that would turn out to be filled by The Boys star Karl Urban.

However, in the middle of running lines with the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director, Olyphant says that he was told that the role had already been filled but that he was welcome to read for the Captain of the USS Enterprise, James T. Kirk.

At the time of Timothy Olyphant’s audition, the role for Captain Kirk was wide open. Understanding that being passed up just comes with the job in Hollywood, even when the role may seem like the perfect fit, Olyphant says that he believes that the director and production team “wanted somebody younger” but were just having a difficult time stumbling upon that person.

“I believe it was one of those things where it’s like they might have been prepared to hire me, but they wanted somebody younger, and [Abrams] was having a hard time finding somebody younge. And somewhere along the line, J.J. called and said, ‘I found a guy, younger, who’s really good.’”

-Timothy Olyphant

At the end of the day, the Star Trek director ended up calling Olyphant to let him down easy, telling him that they found their younger leading man, adding that he was “‘really good’” for the character first made famous by William Shatner.

If you were wondering if there were any hard feelings between Timothy Olyphant and Chris Pine, Olyphant says that despite losing the Star Trek role to Pine, he’s “a huge fan of him both on and off screen. I love that guy.” With only nice words to say about the actor, who essentially got his big breakthrough in J.J. Abrams’s first film in the rebooted franchise, Olyphant went on to share a memory of spending an evening at the Golden Globes chatting it up with Chris Pine by the bar.

Timothy Olyphant in Justified: City Primeval

At the end of the day, Timothy Olyphant will be the first to admit that “auditioning sucks,” as it can be one of the most painstaking processes for actors whether they’ve been in the business for a long time or are hoping to make their debut in Hollywood.

After Losing Star Trek

After going through the process countless times, Olyphant says that his time auditioning for Star Trek sticks out because of how welcoming, sincere, and kind J.J. Abrams was. While Olyphant may have lost the part of Captain Kirk to a younger actor, the star’s calendar wasn’t any less packed as in 2009 alone (the year that Star Trek came out) he appeared in features including A Perfect Getaway and High Life.