What Happened? Still most famous for taking on the exalted mantle of Captain James T. Kirk in the big screen reboot of Star Trek and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, Chris Pine actually had a shot at anchoring another major sci-fi blockbuster. And though his wasn’t exactly a close casting call for the role of compromised hero, Jake Sully, in James Cameron’s Avatar (a role eventually played, of course, by Sam Worthington), the then-little-known Pine (his biggest claim to fame was playing the romantic interest in the Lindsay Lohan vehicle, Just My Luck) at least had a chance at making the role his.
“I have a feeling that story will haunt me for the rest of my life,” the actor told Red Eye Chicago of his Avatar audition. “It’s one of those things – sometimes you can leave your car in Burbank, Los Angeles and walk into a conference room and your back is sweating and you’re thinking about the laundry that you have to do and somehow seamlessly you can then pretend to be a man in a loincloth standing in front of blue people saying lines like, ‘Come follow me! I’ll save you!’ And sometimes you just can’t buy it. I walked into that room absolutely not believing myself. How dare I put that poor casting director through the experience of watching me? Halfway through, I just stopped; she was maybe smiling or laughing at me. I didn’t take offence to it because I was pretty bad. I shook hands with her, and out I walked.”
And despite the fact that he still believes that his next audition was just as bad (“It was all this jargon talk of torpedoes and photons”), Chris Pine actually walked right into the other big sci-fi flick of 2009: J.J Abrams’ Star Trek.
Would It Have Worked? Sure, why not? Avatar wasn’t exactly about the actors, was it?