Benicio Del Toro has turned down the main villain role in the J.J. Abrams directed sequel to his 2009 Star Trek reboot. Negotiations fell apart about a week ago when Paramount wouldn’t offer Del Toro the deal he wanted.
Meanwhile, Vulture are also reporting that Khan Noonien Singh will be the villain of the new movie, the role Del Toro has just turned down.
This seems to suggest Latino Review’s scoop last week that Khan would be the villain of the sequel was legit and J.J. Abrams’ act of misdirection to Hitfix may have been factually correct when he answered ‘not true’ to Del Toro playing Khan as talks had already broken down by that point. But then something sure sounds fishy about all this. If this were an episode of Trek, Kirk would send down an away team to investigate but the red-shirted extra may not make it back.
Del Toro, the Oscar winning actor of Traffic, was offered the villain role on November 5th but after a month of deliberating, which at one point must have been going well as Abrams himself said Del Toro was ‘close’ to signing the contract, he ultimately decided Star Trek is not for him for the money they were offering.
Del Toro is a picky actor and has only done three productions in six years (The Wolfman, Che & Things We Lost In The Fire) with a fourth (Oliver Stone’s Savages) coming next year and he has mostly kept his distance from tentpole features. The Wolfman was the exception to the rule because of his deep-imbedded love for the original film and with Lon Chaney Jr. being one of his idols it became a childhood dream to portray that Universal monster on the big screen. But it was an exception that because of the troubled production and the way that film turned out was one that didn’t really endear him to big budget film-making.
Sadly for Trek fans, Del Toro presumably was too busy watching horror growing up and didn’t have much time for Kirk and his Enterprise crew and his head couldn’t be turned despite the big money offer.
So Abrams is in need of a new Khan and if you REALLY have to go down that route (and we have already explained loud and clear why it’s a bad idea) then Del Toro really did seem to be the man to portray him.
Ricardo Montalban’s shoes are not easy to step in but I guess Lost and The Dark Knight actor Nestor Carbonell might be as good a choice as any. Abrams will obviously know him well already from his Lost days but man… do we really need to go the Khan route again?
Star Trek begins shooting next month for a May 15th, 2013 release. Abrams needs to get picking his replacement fast. Maybe he indeed already has with the addition of Peter Weller to the cast yesterday but that seems unlikely.
Alice Eve is the only other new cast member to date.
This article was first posted on December 6, 2011