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The A-Team press conference


We caught up with the stars of the eighties reboot in London...

The A=Team movie

“Quite appalling”. That was Liam Neeson’s view when asked about the recently proposed closure of the UK Film Council. The Northern-Irish born actor was speaking the day after he and the rest of The A-Team cast rolled into Leicester Square in – you guessed it – the iconic black GMC van, and, if that wasn’t enough, a giant tank for good measure.

Besides a backhanded slap aimed at Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, spirits were high in the camp, and given that the worldwide gross currently stands at $137 million it’s hardly surprising. The four soldiers of war may be battling injustice, but it’s clear that they have struck gold (read my review here).

For Sharlto Copley who rose to fame in the acclaimed District 9, The A-Team was more than just another project: “It was moving…the show was a big part of my childhood. Murdoch particularly was a character that was an inspiration for me to get into film in the first place. It was a real honour. I just tried to play the Murdoch that I would like.”

On the other hand, given the male-centric nature of the cult 80s TV show and its remake onto the big screen, there was, I imagine, less for Jessica Biel to shout home about. The female star of such box-office hits as I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry, and multi-strand rom-com Valentine’s Day, seemed unsurprisingly more sedate than her male co-leads. “It was really interesting. I actually quite enjoyed it. I really like action movies, being a part of them. I don’t have an insecurity being on set with lots of men. Clearly you can see they’re very cool. It’s really a lot of fun and they made me feel comfortable and I had a really good time”.

Someone who seems to be permanently having a good time is Hangover superstar Bradley Cooper who, with a recent string of hits that has moved him up into the premiere league of acting, never seems to go for more than a minute without breaking into a guffaw or grin. However, when it comes to his alter-ego Templeton “Face” Peck, the paragon of vanity so we thought, it seems that either he or us has completely misread the character: "Maybe I missed the boat. I didn’t see it like that, I don’t know why. I didn’t really see him as that vain. I guess he was, but I thought he was more bored and in prison and he liked being outdoors…I didn’t really see him as an exfoliator.” Thanks for clearing that up Bradley.

In truth, though, despite the big Hollywood names present, it is Neeson who was the big catch for writer/director Joe Carnahan. The veteran actor plays leader of the group Hannibal Smith replete with Cuban cigars for his moments of triumph. A necessary evil, it seems, for the reformed smoker of sixteen years who had to put away his nicotine patches for the shoot: “Joe insisted I smoke those cigars. After day one I got what cigars were about, so it was difficult for a couple of days.”

“I told him to blow some of the smoke my way,” piped in Cooper, another ex-smoker.

The biggest surprise, however, was just how quiet Ultimate Fighting Champion Quinton Jackson had been. It was a whole ten minutes before we found out why. “I don’t understand why here you have the premiere and then early next morning you have the junket,” he said to much amusement. And it seems that it wasn’t only Jackson who enjoyed the post-premiere bash, “See, we [Jackson and Neeson] know how to have fun, and the nightlife you might find us in clubs and bars dancing, drinks in our hands, whereas Bradley and Sharlto…they’ll probably read a book or something”. Then there was no stopping him: “We should do M*A*S*H next. I could be an extra in that…or what about Knight Rider? I could play K.I.T.T.”

As far as interviews go this was more like The Marx Brothers than The A-Team, there was so much humour and good feeling pervading the room. And whilst Carnahan was very clear to avoid talk of a sequel, it seems frankly ludicrous to imagine that the studios will not be pushing to get the boys back on the road fighting injustice in all its forms.

Their next job? Let’s just say Jeremy Hunt may wish to go into hiding.

Contact Ben Lamy

The A-Team review


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