Martin Landau: The CFQ Interview

Martin Landau (right) teams up with Johnny Depp and won an Oscar for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in ED WOOD.
Martin Landau (right) teams up with Johnny Depp and won an Oscar for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in ED WOOD.

Every now and then, we pause in awe of the people we’ve had the opportunity to spend time with. Doug Trumbull, John Kricfalusi, and Paul Verhoeven in earlier years, Armin Shimerman and Frank Oz more recently — now it’s Martin Landau’s turn, and we couldn’t be happier.
In an extended and wide-ranging interview, we got a chance to discuss the length and breadth of Martin’s career. In the course of talking about his roles in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, and his Oscar-winning portrayal of Bela Lugois in ED WOOD — and much, much more — Martin provides insights on the art of acting, shares anecdotes from the set, and talks about the sometimes seamy politics that drive the film industry. It is, all told, a fascinating exploration of the life of an actor — click on the player to hear the show.


'Space 1999' Re-boot

Advance poster
Advance poster

According to The Hollywood Reporter,  ITV Studios America and HDFILMS are planning   a re-boot of the 1970’s TV series SPACE: 1999.
The space fantasy show created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (THUNDERBIRDS, UFO) would be re-christened SPACE: 2099 . HDFilms president Jace Hall(the recent ABC  ‘V’ re-boot) told them: “Science fiction is a powerful format capable of visualizing the human condition in thought-provoking ways”.
True enough, but the sarcastic genere fan might well wonder  what  that has to do with the often mystically-oriented, and generally divorced-from-scientific-reality focus of SPACE: 1999?
“While we are indeed re-imagining the franchise and bringing something new and relevant to today’s audiences, I feel strongly that some of the overall tones set by the original SPACE: 1999 television show represent an exciting platform to explore possibilities.”
SPACE: 1999 Stars Barbara Bain and Martin Landau
SPACE: 1999 Stars Barbara Bain and Martin Landau

ITV Studios International’s managing director Paul Buccieri said : “After more than 35 years, we are thrilled to be developing a new vision of our much beloved franchise for audiences worldwide. Historically, the SPACE: 1999 brand has entertained and fascinated millions of people.”
Indeed, the show at its best could be very entertaining. Certainly the UK series was often very exciting from a visual standpoint, a step up in dynamic special effects work from previous American sci-fi shows.  George Lucas reportedly charged ILM with making the model work and explosions of STAR WARS as good as SPACE: 1999.
The show is only in development at this time, and has not been shopped to networks. No word thus far whether Gerry Anderson (or his ex-wife Sylvia) will be involved in any any way.

New 'Thunderbirds', Anderson Stamps

According to, creator/producer Gerry Anderson confirmed that he has made a deal to bring a new THUNDERBIRDS TV series to the screen. 
A non-disclosure agreement apparently limits what he can say about the new show, though he’s quoted as saying on BBC Radio 5:   

“I don’t want to sound conceited, but because I’m going to make it…I’m confident that it will be a smash hit!”

Hopefully Anderson will be correct, because the Johnathan Frakes directed live action version of the 1960’s “Supermarionation” hit was a notable misfire.
The announcement came on the same day (Jan. 11th) that the UK’s Royal Mail unveiled a series of postage stamps featuring Gerry Anderson’s
best loved science fiction puppet shows.
Via the BBC:

The stamps, split between 1st Class and 97p values, feature six of his most popular vehicles and characters: SUPERCAR, FIREBALL  XL5, STINGRAY, THUNDERBIRDS, CAPTAIN SCARLET  and JOE 90 (largely unseen in the U.S.-ed. note).
This stamp issue also includes Royal Mail’s first motion stamps on a miniature sheet using a method called “micro lenticular” printing to re-enact the famous “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” opening sequence to THUNDERBIRDS.  (Seen in the video)

Gerry Anderson with Thundebird 2 stamp, under the watchful eyes of the indestructibel Captain Scarlet.
Gerry Anderson with Thundebird 2 stamp, under the watchful (and somewhat disconcerting) eyes of the indestructible Captain Scarlet.

It’s unknown at this time what format the new THUNDERBIRDS might take. There was a cartoon ‘sequel’ version, and the afore-mentioned live action feature. In more recent years, Gerry Anderson’s CAPTAIN SCARLET returned in an updated computer animated version, which garnered some fans, but didn’t get (as far as I know) U.S. airplay.
Anderson may be more familiar to American fans as the creator of the live action sci-fi series UFO and SPACE: 1999.