For Peter Weller, Star Trek into Darkness‘ Admiral Marcus, landing the role came courtesy of a Fringe episode containing an incident eerily reminiscent of a real life event in Weller’s life, and courtesy of a parking lot encounter with J.J. Abrams.
The episode of Fringe in which Weller had appeared (White Tulip) was a role that he had originally rejected, until his wife convinced him to read the script.
“My wife and I had a huge argument when we were engaged,” explained Weller. “…I had sort of a testosterone meltdown. We can laugh about it now, but I had this nutty thing in the car. I got out of the car…”
Then came the Fringe role. “I got an offer to do Fringe, to do a one-off episode of the show,” said Weller. “I don’t really do one-off episodes of anything…they’re not really interesting to me.”
Weller tossed the script away. “I came home and my wife was crying,” said Weller, “saying, ‘You’ve got to do this. You’ve got to do this.’ It’s about this guy who has an argument with his wife. He gets out of the car and the woman dies in a car wreck. I thought, ‘Come on, nobody wrote that. That’s too much like us, except that nobody died, thank God.’ I read it and I start crying. So I agreed to do it.”
Bad Robot‘s Kathy Lingg had seen Weller’s work on White Tulip, and when Weller met her later in a meeting where he hoped to pick up some directing work from Bad Robot, she said, ‘We all loved you in your episode of Fringe. It was unbelievable.'”
When the meeting ended, Weller headed out to his car and “I [heard] this voice say, ‘Hey, Peter,'” said Weller. “I turn around and I have no idea what J.J. looks like. It looked like a fan standing there. I said, ‘Yeah?’ He said, ‘I’m J.J.’ So I told him the story [about the Fringe episode/Weller real life similarities]. We hugged and kissed and I go home. Four hours later my agent calls and says, ‘Bad Robot wants to hire you.'”
Weller accepted the role without hesitation. “If a guy like J.J. follows me in a parking lot, I’m in,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what it is. And that was it.”