Martin Landau as Spock?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Ssosmcin, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Over the years, we've all read more than a few times that Martin Landau was originally considered for Spock, usually by Landau himself (and in some of the less reliable reference books), who usually says he turned it down because "I can't play unemotional." But according to DC Fontana, and backed up by Herb Solow in his and Bob Justman's "The Real Story" book, Gene Roddenberry never wanted anyone but Nimoy from the start, remembering him from Gene's own The Lieutenant series. Laudau's name never even comes up.

    When Nimoy was having his salary fight in the 2nd year, Landau was already starring in Mission: Impossible, so that's not it either. By the way Landau wouldn't even commit to a long term contract to that series, he signed up year by year, so why would he have taken the Spock role anyway? He never mentions that part.

    So what the real scoop? Personally, I side with with Fontana and Solow. I smell bullshit, honestly, some stuff dreamed up to further connect the actors and their series since Nimoy replaced Landau on M:I once Trek ended. And the fact that both men were (are?) friends and both shows were Desilu produced and started at the same time.
     
  2. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Anyone who's seen Space: 1999 might disagree with Landau's contention that he can't play unemotional...
     
  3. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Actually, I enjoyed his work on 1999. His wife however....
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  4. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Nobody creates a role in a pilot for a TV show with only one actor in mind, considering no others. If that actor declines, what do you do then? If the studio overrules your one choice, what do you do then? It's also handy to have a few other names when negotiating salary, so the actor's agent believes that the pitched numbers aren't too high so as to put his client out of consideration.

    I've heard many TOS actors talking at conventions about how Martin Landau and Barbara Bain used to spend a lot of time "next door" at the "Star Trek" soundstages, playing with the prop phasers, when they were working on "Mission: Impossible" at Desilu, and how Landau realised he'd missed out on a fun gig. Barbara Bain is even in the ST bloopers. The couple was pressing everywhere to get their own SF series and finally got it with "Space: 1999".

    Landau certainly fits the Vulcan type, as do Lawrence Montaigne and Mark Lenard, who were quickly snapped up to play Romulans in TOS, and both eventually returning to play Vulcans. I'm fairly sure I recall Montaigne mentioning that he was also under consideration for Spock.

    As for DC never mentioning Landau, keep in mind that when interviews are conducted, the interviewee has no control over what gets used and what doesn't. DC Fontana wasn't around when Gene R was casting "The Cage", AFAIK. What's the point in branding Landau a liar, just because you haven't seen the right interviews from the right people in print?

    An old Starlog interview:
    http://www.space1999.net/catacombs/press/wrefplandau.html

    He didn't take on Spock because it was a TV series. From the above linked 1986 interview:

     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  5. spockrocks

    spockrocks Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think Martin would've done a good job as well.
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Fontana was Roddenberry's secretary during The Lieutenant, and was involved with Star Trek from the very beginning. She was definitely around when "The Cage" was being cast.
     
  7. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    DC Fontana worked with Roddenberry as his secretary while doing freelance writing, did she not? She was with him in that capacity until she devoted her career to writing and left that position when Star Trek was in production. So she would know what was going on.

    Of course there would be other actors in mind as backups. But Nimoy didn't decline. So if your first choice agrees, you don't offer another actor the role. Landau is noted as having been offered the role first. That is what I question, because I never heard it from anyone on staff (not counting the actors). I think something of that weight would have been mentioned by Solow and Justman. Of course, just because I don't believe it doesn't make it so. I just don't believe it.

    He was listed as a potential replacement, along with Mark Lenard during the salary disputes in the second year.

    Because the actors construct these stories all the time, repeating them for so long they become part of the truth to them. Shatner, Doohan, Nicholls, Takei all have done it. Why not Martin Landau? There have been so many holes shot in the Star Trek Legends over the years, what's one more? But, fine, I wasn't there and I've met Landau and I know he's a hell of a nice guy. And I admire him as an actor, so I won't say he's lying. Maybe he just got caught up in the stories. Just that in 40+ years, I've never read or heard from anyone other than the actors about Landau being the first choice.

    So given a choice of believing actors who would have heard it after the fact (Star Trek's cast - with the possible exception of Nimoy himself) or people who were there at the time (the Desilu guys like Solow), I'll go with the people who were there at the time.

    But if someone wants to produce a memo or even an interview with Solow, Justman or someone on staff from that period backing up the Landau claim, I am more than happy to go with the evidence. Had even Roddenberry said "I originally wanted Marty Landau?" If he did, I missed it.
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    In her introduction to the recent book, "Star Trek 365," D.C. Fontana mentions that Nimoy was Roddenberry's choice for the role when gave her his eleven page proposal for the series to read in April of 1964.

    By mid-October, 1964, an inter-office memo lists Nimoy as one of four potential actors to play Spock. Note that "Number One," which was written specifically for Majel Barrett, has the same number of names listed as the Spock role, and that Barrett and Nimoy are both listed first.

     
  9. Shatnertage

    Shatnertage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^I'm trying to wrap my brain around Deforest Kelly as Spock. It's not easy to imagine, to say the least.
     
  10. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Very true!

    I'm also quite intrigued by the idea of Bruce Dern in Star Trek.
     
  11. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Kang, now with ridges Admiral

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    He would have been great as Joe in "Naked Time".
     
  12. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    Yes!
     
  13. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Kang, now with ridges Admiral

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    [​IMG]
    Get off me! You don't rank me and you don't have pointed ears, so just get off my neck!
     
  14. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well done, Sir. Well done.
     
  15. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm impressed with the photoshop skills...
     
  16. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Kang, now with ridges Admiral

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    Thank you. I was lucky to find two photos that worked together with minimal trouble.
     
  17. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I mean, he was a fine actor and all, and I’ve got nothing against dwarfs, but Michael Dunn as Spock? Seriously?
    Yvette Mimieux would have been a good choice for Vina.

    [​IMG]

    But Jill St. John? Naaah.

    BTW, notice how many actors’ names are misspelled in that memo.
     
  18. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Probably not too seriously. Roddenberry wanted Nimoy for the role. Any effort expended looking for another choice appears to be minimal.
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Michael Dunn as Spock certainly would have made him even more alien if all Vulcans were small statured. An interesting idea.

    I think I might've liked seeing Lee Meriwether as Number One. Certainly moreso than Majel.

    Ross Martin would have been wasted as Tyler, given the thinness of the character.
     
  20. A.V.I.A.F.

    A.V.I.A.F. Captain

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    Isn't it possible that Solow and Justman could be mistaken and/or lying?