It’s rare for Hollywood to make big budget standalone movies that rely on old-fashioned star power these days. 2015’s The Martian was one of the exceptions, as a film based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name, featuring the famous actor-director-combo of Matt Damon and Ridley Scott. But that combo almost became a completely different affair. In a recent interview, Weir revealed that the studio, 20th Century Fox, wanted Channing Tatum to play the lead instead of Damon.
“Well, when Matt Damon threw his hat in the ring, we were like, ‘Oh hell yeah.’ Keep in mind that in The Martian I had nothing to say at all. My only job was to cash the check. The producers and Ridley were like, ‘Oh hell yeah. That works.’ But the studio did everything it could to get Channing Tatum to play the lead role. “
The mid-2010s was a good time to be Channing Tatum. The actor drove high on the unexpected success of the 21 Jump Street films and also took profits and rave reviews from the magical Mike series. Since Fox was looking for an affordable star that could draw an international audience, Tatum makes a lot of sense from a purely business perspective.
On the other hand, the actor had never played a role as the main character in The Martian before. The film tells the story of botanist Mark Watney, who was part of a mission to Mars. Mark’s job was to see if terrestrial vegetation could be grown on the alien planet.
A bizarre storm leaves Mark on Mars, with only his dwindling farm rations to help him survive for endless days as NASA scientists try to find a way to bring him back. Throughout the film, audiences were delighted to see Mark devise one ingenious method of survival after another, and Matt Damon was an excellent choice to play the resourceful and dry protagonist.
While the studio thought Channing Tatum could work as Mark Watney, Weir and the other people involved in the making of the movie weren’t so sure. According to the author, he believed that the on-screen persona Tatum cultivated through his choice of film would make it difficult for audiences to buy him into the role of Mark Watney.
“I was like, ‘I don’t see that. He’s an absolutely gorgeous man, but I don’t see him as a really smart guy.’ I’m sure the real Channing Tatum is intelligent enough, but that’s not the kind of character he usually plays. He usually plays a handsome man, or a bad guy, or both. But yeah, we got Matt, and Matt has fantastic work done. He did a good job. “
Ultimately, Damon got the lead, and The Martian went on to earn over $ 600 million dollars at the box office, marking a career peak for Matt Damon, Ridley Scott, and everyone else involved in the project. This news comes from CinemaBlend.
Subjects: The Martian