Welcome to “A-Team Week” on the MTV Movies Blog, boys and girls. For the next five days, we’ll be dragging your pre-conceived notions out of 1985 and into the present, with an exclusive sneak peek at Joe Carnahan’s high-adrenaline update on the classic TV show. Today, we kick off the festivities with behind-the-scenes clips and Carnahan’s thoughts on the one performance everyone seems most curious about: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson as Sergeant B.A. Baracus.
Carnahan went out on a limb to cast the mixed martial artist and former UFC Light-Heavyweight title holder. But according to the “Smokin’ Aces” filmmaker, fans will be thrilled with what they see in theaters on June 11th.
“Rampage auditioned for a previous version of [the ‘A-Team’ movie] when it was ramping up under a different director; different circumstances,” Carnahan said in an interview with MTV. “I saw that audition, and thought he was a guy that had some raw skill. A good friend of mine, Ed Quinn - who is a great actor in his own right - worked with Rampage. And I saw his audition after he worked with Ed, and it was like night and day. I brought him to Vancouver to screen test him, and the scene is actually in the movie.”
“The scene he screen tested for was so unbelievably [good],” Carnahan revealed. “There is a moment where he has this vow that B.A. takes, and Rampage delivered it so perfectly. Over the course of this production he became quite a fine film actor, because he began to understand how to hit a mark, where the camera is; what that inner play is. I think he’s gonna surprise the hell out of people.”
On the original show, Mr. T played Bosco “B.A.” Baracus as a big man with a heart of gold - one who didn’t suffer fools, didn’t fly and never met a gold chain he wouldn’t put around his neck. “Rampage and I had a lot of conversations about how we were adamant that this character was B.A. Baracus, and not Mr. T,” Carnahan explained of the similarities and differences. “And while Mr. T is enshrined as B.A., you can’t be afraid to take someone [and make it your own]. All things being equal, ‘Rampage’ Jackson is certainly the modern-day equivalent of what Mr. T was back in the day. So, I didn’t have any qualms about he and I assigning a different set of characteristics.”
“The Mohawk is there. The ‘I pity the fool’ is there, but for a completely different way,” he said. “We didn’t go a lot with the gold - but today, he’s tatted up, and we didn’t try to hide that. I don’t think anyone is going to leave the theater and say ‘Rampage blew it.’ The legacy of B.A. Baracus is perfectly intact.”
“Everyone said it on set: ‘God, this guy’s gonna explode. He’s this good’,” Carnahan said. “And he is… the core of [the ‘A-Team] is this camaraderie between them. And when you see Rampage in the movie, there’s no sore thumb sticking out. He’s just really good.”
Will you be able to keep an open mind for the new B.A. Baracus? Or is Mr. T too iconic?