MISSION IMPOSSIBLE star Ving Rhames broke down in tears at a press conference, when critics attacked his casting as KOJAK in a remake of the 70s cop show.

The actor was speaking at the Los Angeles Hilton Universal about the upcoming show, when reporters expressed doubts the African American could take over a role made famous by Greek American actor Telly Savalas.

Rhames sobbed as he said, "Whether the name is Kojak or Lopez or what have you, to me, what I'm trying to do as an artist and as a man and as part of my legacy on this planet is show how similar we are, how if I take any kid and – raise him in the ghetto in Harlem and he goes out and kills someone or steals from someone or what have you, the system is set up so that kid is damn near born in a trap.

"So it's not a colour thing that black kids or Hispanic kids wind up doing those crimes, including myself.

"I'm trying to get the world to see that, you know what? There's really not that much difference between you and I. And my name really doesn't matter. Hopefully, my heart and my spirit matters to you. Hopefully."

24/01/2005 21:20