J.J. Abrams was shocked to learn that original Mission Impossible TV series star Peter Graves was interested in a part in the movie series. Three film adaptations have gone by without him, but now that Abrams is developing a fourth, Graves' representatives have reached out to the producer/director.
"I just got a call that Peter Graves is in great shape, which would be a very bizarre bend in the space-time continuum, for obvious reasons," Abrams said in a press conference in Santa Monica, Calif., on Oct. 8, where he was promoting Star Trek on DVD.
Jon Voight played Jim Phelps in Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible, in a plot that strayed from the canon of the TV series. In addition to addressing whether Graves would be a version of Phelps, Abrams would also have to address his comedy legacy as Captain Oveur in the Airplane movies.
"I almost feel like you could make him serious again and bring him back," Abrams said.
Abrams brought Leonard Nimoy back as Spock Prime in his Star Trek reboot. Nimoy also played Paris on the Mission: Impossible TV series, so Abrams has an "in" with two series favorites.
"Whether it's Nimoy, who I have an incredible affinity for, or Graves, or anyone, we'll see."
As director of Mission: Impossible III, Abrams had reached out to Martin Landau, who played Rollin Hand in the original series. So he's been open to including original cast members since he took over the series.
"I actually tried to get Martin Landau in Mission 3, in a very small little moment just for fun, and was told that he had no interest in doing it," Abrams shared. "But then, when I met him after the movie came out, it was the greatest thing. We were at this restaurant in New York, for one of the TV up-front parties, and someone introduced me to Landau. They took me over and Martin Landau came over to me, extended his hand and [pretended to lift his face off]. That was the greatest thing I'd ever seen."
Abrams has signed to produce the fourth Mission: Impossible with Tom Cruise. He has not announced whether he would direct it.