Why Mark Wahlberg passed up Star Trek

This year feels like it’s been flying by pretty fast, which means the next Star Trek movie will be upon us before we know it on May 17.

Although it’s tightly under wraps, here and there interesting stories keep slipping out, including the story of Mark Wahlberg’s near involvement in the first JJ Abrams film, which hit theaters back in 2009.

Wahlberg is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and he’s currently riding high thanks to the help of a foul mouthed teddy bear. He’s co-starring in Michael Bay’s upcoming dark comedy Pain and Gain, and he’ll also be headlining Transformers 4. So why did he pass on Trek? 

As Wahlberg told Vulture and Total Film, “I tried to read the script, but I couldn’t understand the words or dialogue or anything, and I said, I couldn’t do this.”

Wahlberg did see the end result, and he did like the film, thinking JJ Abrams did a great job, but it clearly wasn’t for him. (Chris Hemsworth got the role instead).

Vulture brings up an interesting point that as big as Wahlberg is on the Hollywood food chain, he hasn’t done a science fiction film since Tim Burton’s reboot of Planet of the Apes. A long time ago, science fiction wasn’t a big genre at all, but Star Wars changed the game, and now many of the biggest films of all time are sci-fi.

While Will Smith has done a number of big sci-fi films, apparently it’s just not Wahlberg’s bag. If you’re making a great living doing down and dirty urban films, and comedies with a dirty old man trapped in a teddy bear’s body, like the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

At the same time, Wahlberg added he would do Star Wars if Abrams offered it. “I love JJ Abrams. I’ve only seen the original Star Wars when I was a kid but my dad really wasn’t into sci-fi so I grew up watching Steve McQueen, John Garfield, Robert Ryan…I think he’ll do something spectacular [with Star Wars] and I probably wouldn’t pass up another opportunity to work with JJ again so if he wanted me to do something and I couldn’t fully understand, I would probably give it a shot.”

So there you go JJ. Wahlberg and Samuel Jackson are volunteering, like many in Hollywood would for Star Wars. If you have a place for them, they’d obviously love to come aboard.