When J.J. Abrams took on directing duties for "Mission: Impossible III," he tried to get Martin Landau – who played super-spy Rollin Hand in the original '60s TV series – to take on a cameo role in the movie. "[J]ust for fun," the director said recently, "and [I] was told that he had no interest in doing it."
Now we know why. In an interview with MTV News, Landau said he has no interest in appearing in an adaptation of a franchise of which he's fiercely protective and which he feels is not true to the original series. "I'm not interested in doing that," he explained. "Let the young Rollin Hand live on."
With a fourth "Mission" in the works, that stance is unlikely to change. "Unless it was a great part, which it probably isn't, it would probably be a cameo, a little joke, that wouldn't interest me at all," Landau said.
While the actor didn't recall being offered a cameo in Abrams' "Mission," nor meeting the director later, Landau did tell a story about being approached to appear, along with the rest of the spy team from the original series, in the first movie.
"When they were working on an early incarnation of the first one – not the script they ultimately did – they wanted the entire team to be destroyed, done away with one at a time, and I was against that," he said. "It was basically an action-adventure movie and not 'Mission.' 'Mission' was a mind game. The ideal mission was getting in and getting out without anyone ever knowing we were there. So the whole texture changed. Why volunteer to essentially have our characters commit suicide? I passed on it. I said, 'It's crazy to do this.' The script wasn't that good either!"
"They made a fatal mistake in doing 'Psycho' again," he added by way of comparison. "Why do that? Why revisit something that stands for itself?"