- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: Stars attend UK premiere of the "The A-Team"
- Date: 28th July 2010
- Summary: COOPER BEING INTERVIEWED
- Embargoed: 12th August 2010 13:00
- Reuters ID: LVA7CIQ2JRSUCV8H7YHF8OXHQUDY
- Story Text: Academy Award nominated actor Liam Neeson called the British government's decision to cut the UK Film Council "a big mistake" while attending the premiere of his blockbuster film "The A-Team" in London on Tuesday (July 27).
The government announced on Monday (July 26) it is to abolish the UK Film Council as part of its plan to cut costs.
Since its creation in 2000, the council has helped promote the UK film industry at home and abroad by funding British filmmaking and raising the profile of British film further afield.
"Big mistake, big mistake, big big mistake. It's a blow, it's what it is. I mean people need entertainment. We're living in hard, difficult times and people want to go out and spend two hours in the cinema, daydream a bit. I'm really disappointed in the government to hear that," Neeson told Reuters Television.
Even though his movie is based on the 1980's TV show of the same name about a group of Vietnam war veterans working as mercenaries, the new A-Team has been reworked to tailor the story to modern-day audiences looking for big-budget Hollywood action.
While the "A-Team" foursome on TV show, which ran from 1983 to 1987, blew up a lot of things and captured many bad guys, the show was perhaps better known for its campy storylines and the loud-mouthed, mohawk-wearing Mr. T, who played B.A. Baracus.
The new "A-Team" is comprised of Bradley Cooper ("The Hangover") playing Templeton "Face" Peck, Sharlto Copley ("District 9") as H.M "Howlin' Mad" Murdock, martial artist Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in the Mr. T role, and Liam Neeson ("Taken") as leader Hannibal Smith.
Cooper said he wanted to take on the role of "Face" because of the very essence of the character.
"(I loved) Everything about him. I love that he wasn't afraid of dying, and his sort of youthful energy towards the battlefield and his camaraderie with the other guys. It was just the culmination of the whole character that he is in the movie and Liam being a part of it and (director) Joe (Carnahan) and everybody," he said.
District 9's Sharlto Copley made short movies of himself while promoting the South African sci-fi film in Los Angeles upon hearing the news of an A-Team movie. He made clips about what Murdoch would do in a hotel room.
A-Team director Joe Carnahan said he was so impressed with Copley, he had to give him the role: "I thought this guy was funny and innovative and I thought god, anybody who's going to take the time and shoot short films for audition, it's just great, it's great."
Copley's success story has been the stuff of Hollywood dreams. Although an avid fan of cinema and television, he held off on his dream of pursuing an acting career and instead become an astute businessman launching television channels in South Africa. Still, it wasn't until he was discovered by District 9 director Neill Blomkamp that he gave his childhood dream another try.
Now, he admits he's living the dream.
"I am. You say that as a joke and the other day one of my friends was like 'oh just living the dream' and both ended up laughing. While it lasts, nothing lasts forever, so enjoy it while it's here," he said.
Afterwards, the actor showed off his impression of Mel Gibson in "Braveheart", a scene which was improvised in the A-Team, after Copley was covered in blue paint.
The actor remained tight-lipped about his next project but said he would like to work behind the scenes again, writing, producing, directing as well as acting.
His co-star Quinton "Rampage" Jackson said the enthusiasm for the eighties tv show in the UK was something he experienced first hand.
"I train here in the UK and in between training, I come home and take a break, I lay down on tv, um... I lay down on the couch and watch tv and watch A-Team on tv. But I almost said I lay down on tv and watch A-Team on couch. I almost said that. Don't be a fighter. Listen, mommas, don't let your boys grow up to be a fighter. It's not as bad as boxing. My speech is not as bad as boxing but (shaking head) it's one of those things," he joked.
Jessica Biel plays the only female character in the muscle movie but says, that's exactly what she's used to.
"Well I'm naturally kind of a tomboy. I've always been that way, I played sports all through school. That was sort of my focus as a kid and that is what I naturally am attracted to and I get to do this (get dressed up) every now and again so it happens quite naturally for me. I don't look like this normally. Normally I'm just wearing some horrible trainers, shorts, t-shirt," she said.
The A-Team opens across cinemas in the UK on Wednesday (July 28).
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