It looks as though director Joe Carnahan (Smokin Aces, Narc) has found his Hannibal Smith for the upcoming 2010 release of the A-Team, based on the 1980’s TV series. Liam Neeson has now, but not officially, been confirmed to play the coveted role of the A-Team leader, Col. John “Hannibal” Smith. It was also rumored that Bruce Willis was in the running to play Hannibal as well, but seeing as how there is confirmation from either party, it is still up in the air.
I am a big fan of Liam Neeson, a man with tremendous talent, his roles range from good intentioned bad guy in Batman Begins, to ill fated Jedi Master Qui Gon Jin, to a man righting the injustices in Schindlers List. He has definetly earned his place as one of the best actors of our time. There is one problem I see in this casting and that is with the tragic passing of his wife, Natasha Richardson, it would seem too soon for him to throw himself back into his work, mind you we all cope differently. But maybe this is his way of dealing, and I am just crazy.
The A-Team played a large part of my childhood, I have seen practically every episode, I have to say as good an actor as Neeson may be, he really does not embody Smith. Smith is bold and brash with a certain arrogance about him and as too my knowledge, a large part of the roles played by Neeson are quite the opposite, they are calm and calculating. Of course, if he is in fact cast as Smith, perhaps he using it as a challenge to enhance his already growing acting capabilities. I would support Neeson casting, however, I believe that Willis would be a better choice, as he is more known for those types of characters.
In other A-Team casting, is looks as though Templeton “Faceman” Peck has been found with Bradley Cooper. Cooper is quickly becoming a sought after commodity these days. So far this has to be the best casting choice, as Cooper not only has the look, but the comedic prowess that is needed. I like Cooper and expect that we will see far more from him down the road.
The remaining team members, BA Baracus and H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock, have yet to be cast, however it has been rumored that the likes of Common have been attached to play BA and at one point Jim Carrey was going to be Murdock with Woody Harrelson currently the top runner, but as it stands right now this is all speculation. Personally, these two roles are crucial if I am going to invest my time and money into this project, as they were my two favorite characters from the series. BA Baracus is somewhat iconic from the 1980’s and messing that character will be a huge gamble. I am not totally sold on Common as BA, he has impressed me with some of his roles to date, particularly as Gambol in The Dark Knight, but I can’t envision him as BA, he lacks something that I just can’t put my finger on. I still think that Mr. T could pull it off after he is done selling conventional ovens and got back in shape, he still looks the same as he did back in the day, with a few spots of grey.
With regards to Murdock, the two choices they have, you can’t really argue with those as both would be superb, but as much as I enjoy Carrey, I would lean towards Harrelson, since he plays the mentally unstable bit a little better, which is what made the character so enjoyable, you never knew if he was going to snap. Carrey can play the mentally unstable, but he is far better at playing the rubber faced man and the character needs more then that to appeal to the older fans of the series.
I am still a little unsure if turning this TV series into a film adaptation is the right thing to do, considering the inconsistency of success for TV series turned into film. Done right in the same fashion as Get Smart and you will have another great film series. But done wrong and in a way that alienates the original fan base and disregards the source material, like Dukes of Hazzard did, you may find that your hopes for Simon and Simon gracing the big screen in jeopardy along with any other TV series with great potential as a film series.
What are some of your thoughts on the A-Team? What do you think of the casting so far? Who would you chose to be you’re A-Team?