The 2015 film The Martian, based on the novel of the same name by Andy Weir, was a pretty successful film. Not only was it nominated for a slew of Oscars and other prestigious film awards, but it was considered a return to form for filmmaker Ridley Scott. In addition, Matt Damon gave a critically lauded performance as Mark Watney, a botanist who has to survive on Mars for for years while waiting to be rescued after being abandoned. It was a role Damon almost didn't do as the character bared striking similarities to a smaller part he played in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar the previous year. And, according to a new interview with CinemaBlend, Weir himself revealed that Damon wasn't even 20th Century Fox's first choice for the role. The studio, who was behind the film, actually wanted...Channing Tatum.
In the new interview, Weir went into more detail:
“Well, when Matt Damon threw his hat in the ring, we were like, ‘Oh hell yeah.' Bear in mind, in The Martian I had no say whatsoever. My only job was to cash the check. The producers and Ridley were like, ‘Oh hell yeah. That works.’ But the studio was really pushing to have Channing Tatum play the lead. And I was like, ‘I don’t see that. He’s an absolutely gorgeous man, but I don’t see him being this really really smart guy.’”
As you can see, Weir was strongly against it and even added his perception of Tatum's usual type of character:
“I’m sure the real Channing Tatum is plenty intelligent, but that’s not the kind of character he usually plays. He usually plays either a guy who’s gorgeous, or a guy who’s a badass, or both. But yeah, we got Matt, and Matt did such a fantastic job. He nailed it.”
In some strange reality where that did happen it would have been...interesting to say the least. But, luckily, Damon was ultimately convinced to take the role and the rest is history. Stay tuned!