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The A-Team roll into town

by Andy Gibbons

I’ll be the first to admit that, as a kid, I was a huge fan of The A-Team. I’d settle down in front the telly every Saturday evening to get my fix of these inventive soldiers of fortune so to hit the red carpet at last night’s UK premiere of the big screen update was, for me, pretty damn cool. And things soon flew off the cool scale as the four leads arrived in Leicester Square in BA’s iconic GMC van (even if BA wasn’t driving, it was a bloke called Bruce!).

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Out stepped Liam Neeson (Hannibal), Bradley Cooper (Face), Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson (BA Baracus) and Sharto Copley (Murdoch) to huge screams from the fans while director Joe Carnahan and co-star Jessica Biel weren’t far behind.

The first person I caught up with was Joe and I was keen to find out how he approached the film, given the nostalgic reverence in which many hold The A-Team. “You gotta make something that’s entertaining. I think the movie’s fantastic; it does everything it should do so if you love the show you’ll love the movie and if you know nothing about the show, you’ll still love the movie,” he told me, before explaining how he got his dream cast. “Liam was always the guy I wanted for Hannibal and I knew that if we cast Liam, you send a very specific message to people about what kind of movie it’s going to be. It’s not a comedy, it’s not a clownish sort of thing. And then, when Liam got in, it rolled downhill so quickly, literally like they’re billed in the movie – Liam, Bradley, Rampage and Sharlto. I was very, very fortunate in that way.

The A-Team premiere 065 Joe Carnahan

Liam too admitted that fans of the ‘80’s wont be disappointed by this 21st century update. “We all paid homage to the original, me with my silver hair, Rampage with his mohawk but then we made our own movie,” he said. But he admitted that playing Hannibal did have it’s downside, especially when it came to one of his particular vices. “I’ve been off cigarettes for 16 years but Joe the director insisted I smoke cigars. It was touch and go because they were Cuban cigars so it was tough and go for two days.” Fortunately he resisted and Liam is proud to confirm that he’s still smoke free.

The A-Team premiere 077 Liam Neeson

Next up were Sharlto and Copley, both of whom confessed to being big A-Team fans with Sharlto especially feeling a connection to his slightly deranged on-screen alter ego Murdoch, saying “It’s really special. It’s quite a moving experience because it was such a part of my childhood and it was so inspirational. That character in particular was one of those that made me want to be in the business. I used to do voices, I used to make little videos with my friends doing crazy voices and characters so it’s humbling to wind up looking at a billboard of myself with the name of character I grew up loving”. Rampage meanwhile admitted being much more at home with the fighting (he is a former UFC Champion after all) than he was with the driving, admitting that he “can’t drive worth sh*t.”

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Sharlto Copley                          Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson

And finally it was on to Jessica and Bradley. Jess, who for some reason started explaining her love of English crumpets at one point, had nothing but praise for her co-stars and director and revealed she was just ”pretty much just one of the guys” while filming. “Joe Carnahan just makes everything so comfortable so I never felt like an intruder coming to a boys club. And the guys were so nice, so professional themselves – we had a very good time” she said while Bradley (who easily got the biggest screams of the night from the fans) admitted that he’s “not even close” to being as charming as his character in the movie. I don’t believe him for a second!

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Jessica Biel                                  Bradley Cooper

The A-Team is in cinemas now.


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