At the press conference for Joe Carnahan’s new auctioneer The A-Team, based on the popular TV series, I spoke with Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
In the movie Bradley Cooper plays Templeton ‘Face’ Peck, a former Special Forces soldier who can procure anything for the Team, led by Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson). Jessica Biel portrays Captain Charissa Sosa, a former love interest of Face’s, who is pursuing the Team for a crime they didn’t commit, and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, a professional mixed martial artist and UFC light heavyweight, plays BA Baracus, the Team’s driver and muscleman.
Bradley, this is your first big action role, how did the movie come to you?
Bradley Cooper: There weren’t a plethora if action movies that were coming to me and I fought for this. The reason I wanted to do it was Joe Carnahan and Liam Neeson were attached. I asked for a meeting with Joe, and we met and literally hit it off. We talked for two and a half hours, it felt like five minutes, and he gave me the script, and I text him the next day and I said, ‘I’ve got to do this guy,’ and he was like, ‘Alright brother, let’s do this.’ Joe fought for me to get it, because this was before The Hangover came out.
How did shooting in Vancouver change your workout regime?
Bradley Cooper: There was a trainer, Ashley Conrad, who was training me for the movie, and she came out to Vancouver. They were providing the food regime of 2000 calories a day, so hell traveled with me, it didn’t matter where I was.
Quinton, were you a fan of the original series?
Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson: I used to bond with my father watching The A-Team as a kid. It was cool; we used to try to build crazy stuff, like the show’s characters did, right in front of our TV. So my take on BA is really actually me and my dad put together.
Jessica, what attracted you to the character of Charissa Sosa?
Jessica Biel: Joe was emphatic that Sosa wasn’t going to be the testosterone-laden female element of the story, and she isn’t.
It’s sometimes hard to get the right balance of femininity and strength in a role like this, but she’s cool and savvy and so skilled that she could probably be a member of the A-Team, but she’s also extremely comfortable with who she is and as such, is not afraid to show her feminine side.
In this film you all go through a lot of stuff – did anyone hurt themselves?
Bradley Cooper: Yeah, there was one scene where we have just recovered the plates and we were going to celebrate with General Morrison, and the Hummer blows up as we ran to it. I tore my hamstring that night. I found myself discovering new bruises every time I came home at night. Epsom Salts were my savior on this movie. I still have a scar from the butt of a gun from our training. I got banged up on this movie.
Was it easier for you to do the stunts because of your training as a martial artist?
Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson: Well, I (didn’t do many) of the stunts, they had some really good stuntmen. I wanted to do more because I’m a physical person, but some of my stunts were crazy. This crazy dude came down from the top of that building like he was skiing on that building, and I was like, ‘Good job, dog.’
What about the fight sequences – was it hard to pull your punches during them?
Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson: I actually did a fight movie a couple of years ago, and I learned a lot on it. So when I had the chance to do it here it was on a bigger scale, Ben Bray (with the stunt team) was a lot better than the other people I’d been working with and he taught me some quick easy stuff. The only problem I had was when the guys would punch me, I went to my defense mode that I would normally do in a real fight, and he was trying to get me not to do that. It was just instinct, I just automatically did it. But everybody was cool and nobody hurt me, so I was happy with that.
How did you feel similar and different from your characters that you played, and what quality would you like to take away from playing them?
Bradley Cooper: I loved Face, we created a childlike enjoyment of what he did. He’s the first guy in and last guy out, and he’d die for his friends in a heartbeat. At my greatest I’d be one eighth of Face, so I really loved him. I loved playing that guy.
Jessica Biel: I feel similarly to what Bradley has said about his character. If I could be an eighth of her, that would be amazing. We share some qualities; I guess the ambition and career drive. I’m probably quite ambitious and so is Sosa, but she also has that quality of not being afraid and being an adrenaline junkie. I share that a little bit, but (not) that no fear kind of balls-to-the-walls quality that all of these characters share, and people in real life who do these jobs have. They’re not very serious people; they’re wildly outrageous, fun, smart and witty. I would kill to be like that.
Did you enjoy working with all the guys in this?
Jessica Biel: I had an incredible experience on this movie. Clearly, everybody loved each other, and it was literally like being around five older brothers. I was tortured and loved and cared for and picked on, as I should have been. It was a beautiful experience.