Matt Damon Almost Wasn’t In 2016’s Outer Space Movie ‘The Martian’

Yes, that’s right!

Who doesn’t remember Ridley Scott directed The Martian, eh? While there have been tonnes of films about going into outer space, there have none that have been able to rival Matt Damon as Mark Watney, an astronaut who was marooned and left with nothing but the option to either talk to himself, his computer, or grow potatoes in human fertilizer! But recently, it has been revealed that if the studio behind the film has had its way, it would have been Channing Tatum playing the lead character.

Recently, author Andy Weir was interviewed by CinemaBlend as he is currently celebrating the release of his latest book, Project Hail Mary. He is the one who wrote the novel, The Martian was based on. During the chat, the topic of whether Matt Damon easily got the role came up and Weir shared that the actor faced competition for the role of Mark Watney. 

“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,” he added. 

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It is hard to imagine any other actor playing a role that Matt Damon literally lived with such passion and diligence. In a chat with Variety in 2016, soon after The Martian was released at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Damon shared the climactic scene from the film where Mark Watney was sent into space with the hope that he would be received by his crew. While shooting the film, Scott “did a really tricky thing” which the pair hadn’t discussed before. 

“The rest of the cast had already wrapped and it was just Ridley and I,” said Matt Damon. “He got the sound from their side of the scene and he piped it into my helmet, but didn’t tell me he was going to do it. So suddenly I heard the voices of my friends and it struck me I hadn’t heard another voice for years. I’d been communicating by email. these people were coming to save me, these people who had sacrificed a year of their lives for me. And I just wept. It wasn’t planned or forced, it was about him creating an environment. And it was the dream of an actor because you just have to show up and be relaxed.”

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