Bruce Greenwood Joins "Star Trek" Cast

Actor Bruce Greenwood attends the after-party for the 'I'm Not There' Dylan Benefit Concert at The Royalton Hotel on Nov. 07, 2007 in New York City. Getty Images/Stephen Lovekin

Ray Liotta, Tom Cruise, and Josh Lucas were some of the names thrown around by "Star Trek" fans to play Captain Christopher Pike in the next film in the franchise, but it looks like Captain Kirk's successor was an unexpected choice.

StarTrek.com reports that Bruce Greenwood, a prolific working actor who has appeared in "I, Robot," "The Core," and HBO's offbeat drama "John from Cincinnati," will be sitting in the captain's chair in the 2008 "Star Trek" movie directed by J.J. Abrams, which began production Wednesday.

Hailing originally from Quebec, Canada, the 51-year-old Greenwood is one of those faces you've probably seen dozens of times but might not have known his name.

For his 25 years in Hollywood he has been building up a thick acting resume in both TV and film since he got his big acting breaks in the first "Rambo" film "First Blood" and the TV series "St. Elsewhere."

According to his fan Web site, Greenwood first became interested in acting in 1975 when he saw Brad Dourif ("Lon Suder") play Billy Bibbitt in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." He started his career in Canadian theatre in the '70s while working in a chemical factory, and got his first part in a movie, "Bear Island," in 1979.

One of his other most recognizable roles was that of the husband of Ashley Judd ("Robin Lefler") who faked his own murder in Paramount's "Double Jeopardy."

Photos: Captain Kirk Gets Roasted
The role of authority figure seems to suit Greenwood well -- in 2000 he played John F. Kennedy in the historical drama "Thirteen Days" (playing opposite Steven Culp) and this December he will again portray the President of the United States in the Nicolas Cage action sequel "National Treasure: Book of Secrets."

In addition, he will appear soon in the Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There." He recently lent his voice to the Disney animated feature "Bolt" due out next year, and lately has been filming a Canadian miniseries with Christopher Plummer called "The Summit."

Captain Pike was originally played by the late Jeffrey Hunter (he died in 1969 of a stroke at age 42). Had NBC accepted Gene Roddenberry's first Star Trek pilot "The Cage," Pike would have been the iconic captain of the Enterprise instead of Kirk. But of course, Hunter was replaced by William Shatner for the second pilot, and history unfolded thusly. But the "canonization" of Pike as the prior captain of the NCC-1701 occurred when footage from "The Cage" and the character of Pike himself (then portrayed by Sean Kenney) was incorporated into the two-part episode "The Menagerie" -- which, by the way, will be showing in HD in theaters across North America and Europe this month!
By Marc Wade
  • CBSNews

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