Ridley Scott’s 2015 film The Martian was a critical and commercial success and was even nominated for awards. The film starred Matt Damon and was based on the book by Andy Weir. The film focused on NASA astronaut Mark Watney after he was accidentally left on Mars when his crewmates are forced to leave the planet.
Damon did a tremendous job as Watney and the role earned him several major awards nominations, including the Oscar for Best Leading Actor. The Martian was released in October 2015 and earned $630.2 million at the worldwide box office. It also received 7 Academy Award nominations as well.
However, it seems the film might have been very different at one point in time. Andy Weir recently spoke to CinemaBlend in order to promote his latest book Project Hail Mary. Weir was asked if there was a lot of competition for the role of Mark Watney, and he revealed that Fox originally wanted Channing Tatum for the role of Watney and not Matt Damon.
“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.’ 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.”
Tatum is well known for his roles in 21 and 22 Jump Street and also the Magic Mike franchise. While there is no doubt Tatum is a great actor, fans simply cannot fathom anyone other than Matt Damon portraying the role of Mark Watney as he simply did an amazing job.