As Paramount mulls over a future version of Star Trek without Chris Pine, now is as good a time as any to revisit J.J. Abrams’s original shortlist — those who came so close to donning the captain’s shirt, but ultimately didn’t make it. Dawson’s Creek alum Joshua Jackson was one such hopeful. He auditioned for the role of James T. Kirk in 2007, along with future Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt and Cloverfield alum Mike Vogel, but ultimately lost to Chris Pine.
Like Pine, Jackson was something of a dark horse and an unlikely candidate for the part. Prior to auditioning for Trek, both men only had rom-com and dramatic credits to their names, and had never appeared in a fantasy or science fiction film before. Still, it was that unconventional acting experience that landed Pine the role. The future Wonder Woman star brought a different kind of humor into the set, injecting into the part a certain blend of arrogance and charisma that only a rom-com frequenter could achieve. If Pine could do it, why not Jackson?
The Vancouver native hasn’t appeared in any major blockbusters, which might just work in his favor. Unlike fellow Kirk hopeful Chris Pratt, Jackson is a fresh face and has yet to be typecast. Despite being widely known as Pacey Witter in Dawson’s Creek — having portrayed the character for over five years — astoundingly, Jackson’s acting choices remain as varied and versatile as ever.
This long-established level of adaptability would allow audiences to better connect with his version of Kirk, knowing he is, in many ways, still a clean slate. If Paramount were to recast the role with Pratt, viewers might have a difficult time separating the actor from his previous roles, like Star-Lord (Guardians of the Galaxy), Jim Preston (Passengers) or Owen Grady (Jurassic World), all characters who are very similar to one another.
It’s not difficult to see why Jackson’s then-girlfriend — actress Diane Kruger — thought her partner would make a good Kirk. Jackson shares William Shatner’s facial features and boyish good looks, and, like Pine, has the roguish playboy game down pat. Like the good Captain, Jackson’s characters are often cheeky and loud, magnetic and outgoing.
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