May 9, 2013 at 10:01 AM ET
Chris Pine wasn't always destined to play James T. Kirk in the rebooted "Star Trek" franchise: At one point, as he told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie Thursday, he wanted to be a baseball player. But circumstances -- like, say, coming from an acting family -- conspired for a different future.
"Around the dinner table, I suppose if you come from a family of doctors you talk about medicine," explained Pine, who showed up for his interview in a very un-Kirk beard and mustache. "But at our dinner table you talk about the day's work and my father invariably would be coming from one set or another and that's what we'd talk about. Just by the process of osmosis, (acting) seeped into my bloodstream."
Of course, now that he's on board, Pine couldn't be happier in his leading-man roles (in addition to Kirk, later this year he'll take on a character alternately played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in the "Jack Ryan" franchise of films). He told Guthrie he has a little bit of Kirk in him -- and a little bit of Spock, too.
"It's a balance of both," he said. "That's the journey for these two men (in the film) -- to find some kind of balance of the body and the mind."
Meanwhile, though he says he's thrilled to be at the top of his game at age 32, he plans on climbing many more mountains: "I'm ambitious, like anybody else is," he says. "But I think I've learned enough in my time that you reach that plateau and just when you think that this will give you the sense of (being) sated, you look up and there's ever more platforms to get to. I'm enjoying my time."
"Star Trek Into Darkness" opens in theaters and IMAX on May 16.