Growing up in the 1980’s I watched a lot of TV shows many of them reruns of long gone shows , some of my favorite were ;The Knight Rider,Starsky & Hutch, Hawaii Five O ,Charlie’s Angels, Perry Mason, Father Dowling, Murder she wrote, and many more. Of all the shows there was one that was at the top of my list, that show was The A -Team.
This was a show that captured my imagination in all aspects, from the premise of wrongfully accused soldiers on the run who survive as soldiers of fortune, to the characters, to the stories of the episodes. This series took action on television to a different levels.
Like most other fans of the show the characters were even more thrilling than the action and missions that they carried out with each character drawing his own fan base. From the leader Hannibal Smith(George Peppard),to confidence man ,Face(Dirk Benedict),the maniac ace pilot Murdock(Dwight Shultz) and every body’s favorite (at least mine’) B.A Baracus (Mr T). They were the A Team, and every week they thrilled audiences with high octane action.
Finding cast that can live up to the legend of the show is the most vital element. Unlike many of those other shows with maybe the exception of Starsky and Hutch, the show was heavily based on the personalities of the Characters and their interaction with each other. They all had such distinct characters and temperaments that you couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Face always trying to avoid being the front man in one of Hannibal’s plans, every body wondering what crazy thing Murdock was going to do next , and B.A’s “s fear of flying . They were the darling of the TV action genre at the same time managing to be wholesome family entertainment.
Bringing this legendary series to the silver screen would be a big risk which could go either way, it could either be a big hit, winning new fans and inspiring a franchise, or a huge bomb, disappointing fans of the genre who have long awaited a movie.
If I were to be at the helm of such an awesome project here”s how I would do it.
Firstly due to the years that have past, they will no longer be Vietnam veterans, they would have to be soldiers wrongly accused of breaking rules of engagement from the Second Gulf War or another recent American military action. The action would have to be elevated several notches, no more throwing and flying about like back in the day, because it would look to much like a B movie and would turn into a comedy . Unlike the television series, there actually would have to be more realistic consequences, this movie would have to match the intelligence and action sequences of recent hits like The Bourne Ultimatum, Mission Impossible 3 thereby avoid the over the top approach of Clive Owen vehicle Shoot Em Up .It has to be gritty and high octane without insulting the viewers intelligence or loosing the devoted fans.
Mr T’s van will still have to be there , a version to fit it’s 21st century setting, maybe a remote controlled van, with a door that slides open ,Armour plated tires, a hi tech vehicle with GPS tracking ability, a van supped up and pimped out by to the max without turning it into KITT .
Their skills and abilities would also have to move up, as audiences appetite has grown for the spy genre. With the advent of Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt, and 24’s Jack Bauer,movie goers are no longer easily taken by heroes with fancy gadgets and one liners. They want intelligent characters who are as powerful wit their minds as they are with their fists. This new team would have to be experts at hand to hand combat, who can take on whatever is thrown their way. Elements of Free running and Parkour would have to be imbibed to display their physical and athletic prowess.
Ace mechanic B.A Baracus would be a technology and demolition expert that can fix anything and transform any basic home made appliance into an explosive similar to MacGuyver . Face, would be a former military intelligence officer who is an expert in communications, cryptology and languages, he can find information on anything and anyone and lay his hands on anything the team needs, he’s also the front man of the team.
Mad man Murdock, the ace pilot will be able to fly anything. Hannibal is a former battle strategist and Navy Seal trainer, he is a highly experienced soldier who still maintains a high sense of humor, whose line “I love it when a plan comes together” will remain immortal like MacGaret’s “Book em Danno” and Sledge Hammers “Trust me, I know what I’m doing”.
Now comes the most difficult aspect , casting. Let’s face it, those characters are immortal, and trying to replace them is a task a daunting as trying to remake Casablanca or The Godfather a task I equate as trying to dry up the Mississippi with a cotton swab. But try I will.
Being the iconic show that it is , the casting of the characters would have to be very specific.Unlike some of the other shows that have made the small to big screen translation. Fans of the show remember every little detail of their favorite character like the back of their palm
Mainstream cinema would say the role of Hannibal will definitely have to be played by Mel Gibson or George Clooney in the role of the charismatic cigar chomping leader, but with that the movie is already getting expensive before it starts. NCIS Mark Harmon, from his portrayal of the Gibbs character in the investigative show,i have no doubt that he would breathe life to the role. He already has he commanding leader charisma as well as the former Marine role from his TV series.
He would have to be Edward Burns, after his role in the movie Confidence I am more than convinced he can play the role perfectly. Michael Weatherly (NCIS,Dark Angel) would also breathe life into the role of the confident charming ladies man of the team.
Most people would say Jim Carrey but I think I’d rather go for Vince Vaughn, he is one man that has been thrilling the comedy scene in the past few years, with roles in Wedding Crasher , Be Cool and bit parts in I see him bringing a fresh yet still loyal element to the role.Just imagine him getting on B.A’s nerves.
Finally the immortal B.A Baracus formerly played by Mr T, who became an 80’s icon through this role. I would have loved to have Mr T in this role but he would look too old beside the much younger cast, and as for the Mohawk! The new generation will not understand it’s significance. So for the role of B.A Baracus , conventional wisdom would suggest either Ving Rhames or rapper turned actor Ice Cube, for this role, he’d have to pack the pounds and bulk up, like Will Smith did for the role of Ali. I however beg to differ,my ideal would be Terry Crews, former NFL player , who has thrilled many with his brilliant comedic performances in White Chick,The Longest Yard the role of the father in tv show “Everybody Hates Chris”. He would be able to handle the physical demands of the role, and he has the very likable factor that Mr T commands.
The role of COL. DECKER who has made it a personal vendetta to bring down The A- Team.This would be wonderfully played by expert fugitive chaser the talented Tommy Lee Jones.
There would definitely have to cameos from the old cast, unfortunately George Peppard passed on a few years ago, but the remaining cast members would have to appear one way or another for the nostalgia effect.
Re-inventing the A Team without losing the key elements that made it the legendary show that it is , is the only way to make it successfully work in this day and age. If the re-invention of Bond , could work, I have a pretty good feeling that the same could be done for The A- Team.
If Hollywood were to bring this icon of a show back, the script would be written by Bourne scriber ,Tony Gilroy and directing it, would pick none other than Paul Greengrass , the man behind the Bourne successes ,to be at the helm of this project, bringing in creator Stephen J Channel on producing duties along with director, Tony Scott a man that certainly knows a lot about action.