I love it when a cast comes together. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Still, the news that Oscar-nominee Liam Neeson is in talks to play John “Hannibal” Smith in Joe Carnahan’s movie adaptation of The A-Team — with Hangover heartthrob Brandley Cooper potentially coming on as Templeton “Faceman” Peck — is encouraging. Because no one needs another SWAT.
But that still leaves half of a renegade band of veterans, wanted for crimes they did not commit, to cast: “Howling Mad” Murdock (originally played by Dwight Schultz) and B.A. Baracus (Mr. T’s star-making role). Murdock is the showiest role in the Team — the brilliant but delusional pilot who spends most of his time in a mental institution — and, as such could go to anyone from Robert Downey Jr. to Sam Rockwell. But I’d like to see them take a chance on Jim Carrey. When given the chance, the man can act (see: The Truman Show); here’s a role that’d require him to both play the loon, and the damaged man bubbling underneath.
And then we come to B.A. Baracus. I’m sure every black actor with an athletic build is being looked at — Ice Cube was, at one point, a rumored favorite — to play the driver, mechanic, and legbreaker. But Mr. T, coming off of playing the villain in Rocky III, wasn’t the cuddly mohawked teddy bear he’d later morph into: He was downright frightening. These days, muscles don’t, ironically, carry the same weight. Think of Don Cheadle in Devil in a Blue Dress or Jeffrey Wright in Shaft — they were terrifying because you believed that they were crazy enough to do whatever crossed their minds. So I’m gonna rally for Chewitel Ejiofor (pictured) — who’s never been bad in anything, and elevates everything, from Inside Man to Serenity, Children of Men to Redbelt. Hell, I just wanna see that dude in more movies.
What about you? Who would you like to see flesh out these classic TV vigilantes?
addCredit(“Mr. T: Globe Photos; Ejiofor: Fritzroy Barrett/Lan”)