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A couple of high profile actor/filmmaker relationships has defined Simon Pegg’s career: his collaboration with Edgar Wright and J.J. Abrams. The actor first worked with the Star Wars filmmaker for Mission: Impossible 3 before nabbing the iconic role of Scotty for his take on the Star Trek franchise. Over ten years after Pegg first appeared on the Enterprise, the actor has explained how he got offered the role. In his words:
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.
As Simon Pegg remembers, J.J. Abrams just casually offered the comedy actor the role in a straight-forward email. No audition, or fancy schmoozing to get him onboard the Star Trek films, just a simple question. He admits he was “irked” by Abrams methods, but of course he couldn’t say no. After waiting a few days to think it over, Pegg answered and the rest is history! It was a bit of a different story for Star Wars. As he said:
Oddly when he did he offered me the role in Star Wars, he did take me out to dinner and offer me over dinner.
How funny, especially since his Force Awakens role was much smaller than Scotty. The role asked the actor to imitate and bring something new to a beloved character fans long knew James Doohan for. Pegg told Vanity Fair he joined the Star Trek cast fairly late, but instantly joined the family atmosphere on set. The cast worked together for 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness and 2016’s Star Trek Beyond until the franchise hit a stand still.
One massive blow Simon Pegg attributes is the tragic loss of Anton Yelchin shortly before Star Trek Beyond hit theaters. Pegg also has opened up about the lack of marketing for the third film and its revenue not quite hitting the same accolades of Marvel films. Star Trek Beyond was a low for the reboot when it made $335 million worldwide on a reported production budget of $185 million.
Simon Pegg has shown interest in returning to the role, perhaps with Quentin Tarantino’s version that has been mentioned here and there over the past year, but may never happen. The actor is a-go on the Mission: Impossible sequels helmed by Christopher McQuarrie. The seventh and eighth films started shooting ahead of production delays, but could continue later this year.
Simon Pegg feels he owes J.J. Abrams “a lot” of his career. His faith in him to take on Scotty is just one example. The actor will return as Benji Dunn for Mission: Impossible 7 on November 19, 2021.