Tom Cruise in Star Trek!?
Another Trek cast member is set and explains why the character of Chekov was not listed on the casting call sheet I posted earlier in the week. According to The Hollywood reporter, J.J. Abrams has cast Russian-born actor, Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog, Charlie Bartlett) as navigator Pavel Chekov in the new film.
While that news is confirmed, IGN Movies has revealed something more...grizzled...to chew on. Apparently Abrams is also looking for someone to play Captain Christopher Pike. Pike, for those of you who don't know, was the captain of the Enterprise before Kirk took command and was the lead in the first failed Star Trek pilot. The character of Spock was the only character to survive from the first pilot to the second, thus setting up a history with both men, later fleshed out in the two-part episode, "Menagerie" which incorporated footage from the discarded show.
While I love the idea of Pike and a possible Enterprise handover (this would seem to indicate that the Starfleet Academy rumor is indeed false) I'm not sure I like the direction this is going.
IGN Movies is reporting that Abrams is after an A-list actor for the high-profile cameo role of Captain Pike. How A-list? Supposedly Abram's friend and MI3 star, Tom Cruise! As Star Trek will be a Paramount production and they don't much like Cruise, let's hope this is just an erroneous rumor. Especially since IGN hints that, "if you think this Cruise stuff is crazy then you don't even want to know which A-lister we were told Paramount is trying to land to play the villain!"