You’d think that being offered an iconic role in a franchise you’ve loved since childhood would invoke feelings of joy, pride, excitement, and probably some fear, too. But not annoyance. Definitely not annoyance. Or so you’d think.
I’ll allow Simon Pegg to explain how he came to feel “irked” when J.J. Abrams offered him the part of Scotty in his Star Trek reboot. In a new career retrospective with Vanity Fair, the actor recounted his experience of being offered the role, saying:
I got off an airplane, a flight from New York back to London. And opened my phone and there was an email from J.J. and it said ‘Do you want to play Scotty?’ And I was almost annoyed by that. The tenacity of it irked me. [Laughs] Because you can’t just throw the ball into my court like that and expect me to smash it back. I need some time to think about it. But of course three or four days later I was like ‘Yes, of course!’ But it just felt like such a, like he was just handing me this massive opportunity, and I wanted dinner and a movie.
Right, so he didn’t say he didn’t also feel joy, pride or any other positive emotion (he’s a Star Trek fan, of course he did). But it’s a sweetly human response. I mean, put yourself in Pegg’s shoes. You just got off a 7 hour flight – what do you want to do? Go home, have dinner, watch a movie, and fall asleep watching said movie. Instead, you get an email offering you the chance to play one of your boyhood heroes (or close enough). That’s an overwhelming break at the best of times, and receiving it jet-lagged and plane-heavy likely wasn’t the best timing.
Alternatively, there’s a second scenario I’ve dreamt up. Put yourself in Pegg’s shoes (again). J.J. Abrams has just casually emailed you about playing one of your boyhood heroes (or close enough). How can he be so blasé? You can’t throw around key parts like that! What if you accidentally cast a hack? In all seriousness, I’m sure J.J. considered offering Scotty to Pegg very carefully before deciding to do so.
Ultimately, I suspect there were elements of all the above when the email came through. Since then, the pair have worked together on Star Trek’s sequel Into Darkness and on Star Wars: The Force Awakens – a fact that I was completely unaware of 35 minutes ago. Yep, Unkar Plutt was Simon Pegg. And yes, you probably knew that already.