It’s rare for Hollywood to make big budget standalone films that these days rely on good old-fashioned star power. 2015s The Martian was one of the exceptions as a film based on the novel of the same name by Andy Weir and featuring the famous actor-director combo of Matt Damon and Ridley Scott. But that combination was almost an entirely different matter. In a recent interview, Weir revealed that 20th Century Fox studio wanted Channing Tatum to star instead of Damon.
“Well, when then Matt Damon threw his hat in the ring, we said, “Oh, damn yeah.” Remember, I had nothing to say at all in The Martian. My only job was to cash the check. The producers and Ridley said, “Oh, damn it. That’s working.’ But the studio really pushed for Channing Tatum to star. ”
The mid-2010s was a good time for that Channing Tatum. The actor bet on the unexpected success of the 21 Jump Street films and also soaked up the wins and critical acclaim from the Magic Mike series. With Fox looking for a bankable star who could attract 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 like the main character in The Martian before. The film tells the story of the botanist Mark Watney who was part of a mission to Mars. Mark’s job was to see if the earth’s vegetation could grow on the alien planet.
An unusual storm leaves Mark stuck on Mars, only his dwindling farm rations will help him survive endless days while NASA scientists look for a way to bring him back. Throughout the film, viewers were delighted to see Mark come up with one ingenious method of survival after another, and Matt Damon was an excellent pick to play the role of resourceful and dry-minded lead actor.
Although the studio thought Channing Tatum might work as Mark Watney, Weir and the other people involved in the film weren’t so sure. According to the writer, he felt that the on-screen persona that Tatum had nurtured through his selection of films would make it difficult for audiences to buy him in the role of Mark Watney.
“I said, ‘I don’t see that. He’s an absolutely gorgeous man, but I don’t see him as this really, very, very smart guy.’ I’m sure the real Channing Tatum is very intelligent, but that’s not the kind of character he usually plays, he usually either plays a guy who is great, or a guy who is a bad guy, or both. But yeah, we did Matt and Matt did a fantastic job. He did it. ”
Damon ended up starring, and The Martian grossed over $ 600 million at the box office. This was a career highlight for Matt Damon, Ridley Scott, and everyone else involved in the project. This message is from CinemaBlend.
Subjects: The Martian