The A-Team cast defend film from Mr T's attack
Published 28/07/2010 | 10:32
The cast of the A-Team film have defended the remake against Mr T's claims that it does not live up to the original TV show.
But the stars admitted they had “big shoes to fill” as they gathered in Leicester Square for the film’s London premiere.
The long-awaited blockbuster has drawn criticism for failing to provide the “fun and family entertainment” that was the watchword of the cult 1980s TV show.
Mr T, the actor who originally played Sergeant BA Baracus, said last month that he pitied the fool who had packed the new film with sex and violence.
After attending a screening of Joe Carnahan's adaptation, he said: "People die in the film and there's plenty of sex but when we did it, no one got hurt and it was all played for fun and family entertainment. These seem to be elements nobody is interested in anymore. It was too graphic for me.”
But Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the former Ultimate Fighting Champion who plays BA Baracus in the film, said the new adaptation was more than a match for the original.
“I guess it's a tough role to take, big shoes to fill," he said. "But the trick is not to try and fill those shoes, but to go around it, and – bam! – that's what I did. I was just myself."
He admitted that Mr T had not been in touch to offer any words of encouragement since attacking the film last month.
“I've never met him, and I'm kind of upset with you Mr. T – you know how to get in touch with me," he said.
Jackson ran into controversy last month when he declared that "acting is kind of gay".
He added: "It makes you soft. You got all these people combing your hair and putting a coat over your shoulders when you’re cold.”
Carnahan claimed that Mr T’s views had been misrepresented by the media.
"T and I have spoken and I've showed him a lot of the movie and he was quoted completely out of context in a way I know was not right because T is not the kind of guy to go bad on anybody,” he said.
Liam Neeson, the Irish actor who plays Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith in the adaptation, said: "It's big shoes to fill. We pay homage to all of them and we tip our hat to certain elements in the show. But after that we made our own movie, and hopefully it's entertaining."
Both Dwight Schultz, who played Captain HM Murdock, and Dirk Benedict, formerly Lieutenant Templeton “Faceman” Peck, filmed cameos for the movie, which will be released in Britain on July 30.
Mr T refused to make an appearance. George Peppard, who played Hannibal in the show, died in 1994.
Bradley Cooper, who plays Lieutenant Templeton “Faceman” Peck, paid tribute to the original TV series.
He said: "Actually I always wanted to be Murdock when I was younger. I was a big fan. That TV show had a major impact on kind of the whole Western world."
Jessica Biel, who plays soldier Charisa Sosa in the adaptation, said she hoped that adding a female role had brought the A-Team into the 21st Century.
“The world is different now. Women can do anything and be anything and are as smart as anybody else,” the 28-year-old actress said.
"So I think if you're going to do something different and make this a contemporary story that is just necessary. I hope I created a female character other women can be proud of."
Canahan added: "Of course the modern A-Team needs a woman. It needs a very beautiful woman like Jessica Biel.”
Biel caused a stir when she arrived at the premier wearing a semi-transparent red gown which left little to the imagination.