The 38-year-old recalled his audition for the first Star Trek film, released in 2009, as he appeared on his podcast Restless Natives: The Podcast, with co-host Gordon Smart.
Compston was bidding for the role of Scotty, which Simon Pegg eventually bagged, while suffering a serious case of jetlag in Los Angeles.
The actor said: “The way they do auditions in the US is, you get a phonecall saying, ‘Can you be at the studio in an hour?’ Over there, it is very cold because they see so many people, it’s just like in and out the door. So, I said, give me a day or two to get over the jetlag.
“I get off the plane at like eight, nine at night, and I’ve got an email saying I’ve got an audition tomorrow for Star Trek. I said, ‘I’m chuffed but I’m a mess, there’s no way I’m going to be in a state for this’.”
Compston had to quickly learn a three-page monologue and ended up being late to the audition after taking wrong directions.
He continued: “I got in the car and went to what I thought was the right address, which was in Koreatown, and chapped [knocked on] this door, which looked like a massage parlour. I was like, ‘Is this Star Trek?’
“She was like, ‘No, no, massage, massage,’ and I’m going, ‘No, Star Trek’. And she was going, “No, no, no, massage.’ I was like, ‘Is this a test? Is somebody watching me?’ I phoned my agents and I was like, ‘I’m a bit confused. I’m at a Korean massage parlour?’
Star Trek returns
A sweaty, jetlagged Compston arrived to the right address two hours later. He said: “I walk in, a few people in front of me get called, and then a couple of people behind me. I’m like, all right, maybe they’re annoyed I came late.”
The audition then went from bad to worse.
Compston said: “I fell asleep, woke up, and I could see the casting director and I was like, ‘Sorry, I’m here for a Star Trek audition.’ She’s like, ‘Are you Martin? Why didn’t you sign in?’ That’s how they know you’re there. Nobody told me.
“This casting director, she’s fuming. I’m a mess and I try to do the speech off book. Page-and-a-half in, I’ve blanked. She went, ‘Look, I get what you’re trying to do, but just read the lines for me.’ That got my back up but I blanked again.
“Then the third time she went, ‘Just read the lines!’ I tried without reading again. I forgot them again and burst out laughing and then literally just read it. I remember coming home and my agents going, ‘How was it?’ And I was like, ‘We’re not in great shape here.’”
Co-host Smart added: “And Simon Pegg’s had a great career and four movies as Scotty!”
Episode 3 of Restless Natives: The Podcast is out today - listen here Restless Natives with Martin Compston & Gordon Smart - Podcast | Global Player