What Could Have Been: Director Joe Carnahan Describes the Opening of THE A-TEAM Sequel

     January 11, 2012

Joe Carnahan THE A-TEAM Sequel slice

Director Joe Carnahan is currently doing the press rounds for his new survival thriller The Grey starring Liam Neeson. Steve recently got the chance to sit down with the director for an extended exclusive interview, and while we’ve already shared what he had to say about the Nemesis movie and his long-gestating Pablo Escobar drama Killing Pablo, today we wanted to share a few tidbits on what Carnahan had planned for the opening of The A-Team sequel.  While the director’s feature film version of the popular 1980s television series opened in 2010 and did fair business at the box office, it unfortunately wasn’t popular enough to warrant a sequel.

However, when speaking with Steve, the director revealed his detailed plan for a pretty ambitious opening to the sequel, and talked about why he thinks the first film didn’t meet box office expectations. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

The-A-Team-movie-imageCarnahan revealed that he had actually already written a 15-page opening scene for the sequel. He went on to describe the sequence:

“I had the greatest opening, I think, to the sequel. It was the Citadel in the middle of the desert and you see Hannibal on what looks like he’s on a dog sled, and you think he’s in the arctic and as you pull back you realize he’s taking these dogs over the dunes. A chopper flies overhead with a blackjack table cabled to the bottom of it, and he goes and plays this shake—I had actually written the scene, it’s a 15-page scene for the sequel—and he goes and plays this shake for Face’s freedom, and there’s a great moment where B.A. busts into this kind of prison and you see Face is on this torture wheel upside down. B.A.’s first line to him is, ‘You feel like whippin’ some ass?’ and Face says, ‘You know it’s funny, I do.’ (laughs).”

the-a-team-movie-imageThat’s certainly a fun way to kick off an A-Team sequel. Sadly, Carnahan’s plans will likely never come to pass due to the lackluster performance of the first film. The director went on to talk about why he thinks the action pic underperformed:

“We blew the marketing on that. We blew it, not just Fox, I was part of it. We came out at a date that I was always very leery of because it was the opening day of the World Cup. We opened in Mexico the day that they played South Africa in the opener, and I just thought “You know what’s gonna happen? Dad’s gonna stay home and watch soccer, Mom’s gonna take the kids to a movie, what are they gonna see? They’re gonna go see The Karate Kid, they’re not gonna see The A-Team.”

the-a-team-movie-image-2Beyond the release date fumble, Carnahan was unhappy with the fact that some critics lambasted the film for being unrealistic:

“I knew I was in trouble when Roger Ebert was citing Newtonian law and taking me to task about dropping a tank out of a plane, it’s like ‘Pal are you fucking for real? Like, did you ever see the show?’ And by the way, it’s like the show was such hallowed ground; it was goofy! Steve Cannell by his own admission said it was a corny show that worked and it had some sweetness that it wore on its sleeve. Listen, I was a lot more bummed out about what they did to Miami Vice than what happened to The A-Team (laughs). Miami Vice was a show I really loved, you know?”

Nevertheless, everything worked out in the end. Carnahan told Steve that had he gone forward with an A-Team sequel, The Grey would have never come to pass.

Here’s the portion of the interview where Carnahan talks about The A-Team sequel, followed by a full transcript. We’ll have Steve’s full interview with the director up closer to the film’s release date. The Grey opens on January 27th.

The-A-Team-movie-posterCollider: Did you have ideas that you’ve thought about for the sequel?

Joe Carnahan: I had the greatest opening, I think, to the sequel. It was the Citadel in the middle of the desert and you see Hannibal on what looks like he’s on a dog sled, and you think he’s in the arctic and as you pull back you realize he’s taking these dogs over the dunes. A chopper flies overhead with a blackjack table cabled to the bottom of it, and he goes and plays this shake—I had actually written the scene, it’s a 15-page scene for the sequel—and he goes and plays this shake for Face’s freedom, and there’s a great moment where B.A. busts into this kind of prison and you see Face is on this torture wheel upside down. B.A.’s first line to him is, “You feel like whippin some ass?” and Face says, “You know it’s funny, I do.” (laughs).

So yeah we had really great stuff, and I’m with you I don’t understand what was—I think, and I’ve said this [before], we blew the marketing on that. We blew it, not just Fox, I was part of it. We came out at a date that I was always very leery of because it was the opening day of the World Cup. We opened in Mexico the day that they played South Africa in the opener, and I just thought “You know what’s gonna happen? Dad’s gonna stay home and watch soccer, Mom’s gonna take the kids to a movie, what are they gonna see? They’re gonna go see The Karate Kid, they’re not gonna see The A-Team.”

But beyond that it got kinda ripped for, like I was telling you I knew I was in trouble when Roger Ebert was citing Newtonian law and taking me to task about dropping a tank out of a plane, it’s like “Pal are you fucking for real? Like, did you ever see the show?” And by the way, it’s like the show was such hallowed ground; it was goofy! Steve Cannell by his own admission said it was a corny show that worked and it had some sweetness that it wore on its sleeve. Listen, I was a lot more bummed out about what they did to Miami Vice than what happened to The A-Team (laughs). Miami Vice was a show I really loved, you know?

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