The big screen adaptation of the popular 1980s television series The A-Team began shooting in Vancouver last week, and we’ve already gotten our first glimpse of the cast at right. (I’m not sure about the graying up of Liam Neeson’s hair…) But can Liam Neeson and company step in to the shoes of George Peppard, Dirk Benedict, Dwight Schultz and, of course, Mr. T, as a group of soldiers of fortune who are persued by the military for a crime they didn’t commit? It was the same dilemma facing the cast of this summer’s Star Trek reboot and they managed to do it. Can lightening strike twice? Let’s take a look.
Liam Neeson as Captain John “Hannibal” Smith- The smiling and cigar smoking leader of the A-Team is a master of disguise and a cunning strategist. Neeson has played a number of characters that share similar traits in films from Darkman to last year’s Taken. While I think that Neeson might be a little intense as compared to George Peppard’s lighter take on the character, his casting is probably an indication that the movie will probably be less cartoonish than the television series.
Bradley Cooper as Templeton “Faceman” Peck- Cooper is certainly charming enough to pull off the role of the A-Team’s resident con-man, to the point where this casting seems pretty much like a slamdunk. The Hangover has shown he can pull of a quick talking smooth operator, and he while he certainly has a charm about him similar to the television series’s Dirk Benedict, Cooper’s is a bit scruffier than Benedict’s cleaner good looks. This is probably the strongest casting out of the four roles.
Quinton Jackson as B. A. Baracus- The Ultimate Fighting light-heavyweight champ will be taking over perhaps the most iconic role of the original series from bodyguard-turned-actor Mr. T. The problem is that B.A.’s character was pretty much the public persona of Mr. T himself. Can Jackson, with his limited acting experience bring something different to the role? While some of that might depend on the script, much of that rests on Jackson’s shoulders.
Sharlto Copley as “Howling Mad” Murdoch- Almost as unpredictable as the character himself is the casting of District 9’s Sharlto Copley as the A-Team’s reality-challenged pilot. Copley’s only film role before this was this summer’s District 9, which admittedly was an outstanding performance. But we’ve seen impressive debuts that have never fully lived up to their promise before – Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder, anyone? – so we have to admit to being a bit wary about this one.