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

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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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  • Kevin

    Did this guy seriously just blame World Cup soccer for his film tanking?

    • EV M

      Maybe you weren’t a fan of his movie, but you can’t blame him for saying the release date was a suicide mission. Soccer is a global obsession enjoyed by an all-ages male audience. No other spectator sport or exhibited entertainment of any kind can match its audience. THE A-TEAM was conceived for the same audience that would be fixated on soccer, all over the world, during the same timeframe. It was a legitimate concern for the movie’s director, and a bone-headed move by the studio to go head-to-head with the World Cup.

      • Jeremy Iverson

        The A-Team was cool. I wish a sequel was happening. really one of the best reboots I’ve seen. Good casting.

    • EV M

      Maybe you weren’t a fan of his movie Kevin, but you can’t blame him for saying the release date was a suicide mission. Soccer is a global obsession enjoyed by an all-ages male audience. No other spectator sport or exhibited entertainment of any kind can match its audience. THE A-TEAM was conceived for the same audience that would be fixated on soccer, all over the world, during the same timeframe. It was a legitimate concern for the movie’s director, and a bone-headed move by the studio to go head-to-head with the World Cup.

    • rr

      It isn`t the soccer world cup… It`s the Football World Cup, the world`s most played and seen sport!

    • Kamal Soni

      I L U? Yr plz conncect me?

  • jonathan

    I actually enjoyed the movie, it was a little much at times but it entertained the hell out of me. Liam is a bad ass!!…Cant wait for The Grey.

  • EV M

    Carnahan’s and company got it just right with the A-TEAM movie.

    Besides the bad marketing (the movie needed a late-spring date to get out in front of the Summer crowd,a last weekend in April slot; and the advance marketing was non-existent, with a misguided character-based print campaign for a property 25 years old), the only way they could have made a better movie, more true to the license, would have been to find an actor for ‘B.A.’, or a performer at least, the guy they got was surprisingly good onscreeen for an athlete, but the part called for a lot more of that ‘it’ factor that made Mr. T a star.

    The movie they made stands up head-and-shoulders above most of the high-grossing Hollywood franchise-bait that’s been thrown at us since the ’90s, and was a blast to watch.

    • Jeremy Iverson

      I agree. Just watched it again. Fun, original action flick. Jessica Beal is smokin in this one. Well paced. BA was the weakest link, but i don’t think it damaged the film.

  • sense 11

    The A Team movie was a piece of $h!+ and i have no doubt a sequel would have been just as $h!tty

    • snapperhead

      Agreed. Want to see a good A Team movie? It’s called the Losers.

      • EV M

        THE LOSERS is not a good any-kind-of-movie.

      • guy

        yes. the losers was for losers.

      • sense 11

        The Losers is a lot better than the A-Team,

        A Team is garbage

      • snapperhead

        @ guy: Good one.

        Seriously though, I understand that some people didn’t enjoy the Losers as much as I did. It is, quite simply, a dumb, fun action flick… and a bit juvenile. But the A Team movie was infantile.
        Also, Zoe Saldana > Jessica Biel.

    • Damien

      eat shit for trashing The A team

  • 72 inches!

    Saw it in the theater and was disappointed. Saw it on tv last night and rather enjoyed it, particularly Sharlto Copley’s and Bradley Cooper’s performances. Go figure.

    • EV M

      The movie just moves. It’s watchable-as-hell.

      • Carlos A. (Colombia)

        To me there’s a part where it just doesn’t make any sense…. The A-Team was never about having those sort of twists and turns like the Face’s plan at the end…. (plus, that scene was horrible)…….

        I didn’t have a problem with the tank, or the helicopter stuff…

        But, I kind of felt nostalgic a little bit when I saw it… like you say… it’s watchable!

      • Carlos A. (Colombia)

        I didn’t have a problem with the tank or the helicopter/buiding stuff…

        But to me there was a part where it just didn’t make any sense…. The A-Team was never about having those sort of twists and turns like the Face’s plan at the end…. (plus, that scene was horrible)…….

        But, I kind of felt nostalgic a little bit when I saw it… like you say… it’s watchable!

  • ReaperXXIV

    The movie failed as a blockbuster series starter , but it still a big loud fun a$$ ride. When people get over how “un-realistic” is it can be rather enjoyable , yes they flew a tank falling from the sky , yes that cannot happen , YES it was a gloriously awesome scene !

    I was a fan overall of the flick for what it was

  • phunkypho

    “shake”? really? He was going to play a chocolate shake to save Face? Oh wait, you meant SHEIK? AHHHH….now it makes sense.

  • Kara

    Joe – the A-Team was great! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Looking forward to The Grey :)

  • Joe Soap

    It’s SHEIK, not SHAKE. Journalism or what.

  • futureboy

    Love some Carnahan.

  • Jay

    A-Team was absolutely awful.

  • hanna

    it is a good fun movie. bradley was so sexy as face.

  • spongefist

    A-Team Movie rocked, give us a sequel.
    Losers was crap, please don’t give us a sequel.

  • Michael Horne

    I loved The A Team movie – brilliantly cast, in my opinion. Yes, it was unrealistic, yes, it was a little cheesey and no, there wasn’t enough MacGyver-type stuff for fans, but it was in-the-spirit of the original and had great action sequences. It wasn’t meant to change the world, just entertain it. Job done. Sequel would have been nice, but c’est la vie.

  • Matt

    He complains about being in a hole and then trashes Miami Vice? Between the folks who wanted Bob Johnson and PMT to strap on their girdles for the remake, and those who always trashed Miami Vice as MTV cops, that film definitely started in its own end zone.

    I forget who it was who said it, Cooper or Copley, but they screwed up letting Bloom in on the script. He gave his own character too much air time and the guy was a lousy villain. Neeson, Copley, Cooper, Jackson, though – they were gold.

  • Ryan

    20th Century Fox is run by IDIOTS. The movie made over 100 million dollars, it sold decently on DVD & Blu-ray and across the internet everybody loves it! It’s funny and hilarious. I’ve seen it like 5 times and don’t stop laughing.

    Make a damn sequel. Show some freaking confidence in the audience and a potential franchise. Wiki says the budget was 110 million dollars. They made 177. I’m sure they could make a decent, gritty sequel for 80 million.

    JUST DO IT. They really have anything better in the works? This could make a fun, rip roaring ridiculous trilogy.

  • Reed

    Joe you made a great movie. I noticed there were several Fox movies that year that had so-so box office results. Bad release date, weak advertising focusing on action (which every movie has now) rather than the unique stuff about the A-Team. Hoping for a sequel! Wouldn’t be the first time they did a sequel with so-so results the first time. If it’s marketed right it could do well.

  • Dingo

    I was and still am a huge fan of the TV show and dont understand how people can’t be really impressed with Joe’s efforts. the film and casting were perfect.

    Loved every second especially the extended cut.

    Please please please make this sequel. A start like that can’t be wasted. Plus we hardly got to see the Van and that needs to happen!!

  • Dingo

    SEQUEL pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • Daniel

    I was actually very impressed with the movie and would love to see a sequel come out. If there were to be one, I would rally everyone to go see it on opening day

  • Daniel

    I was actually very impressed with the movie and would love to see a sequel

  • LEM

    They should just bring it back as a tv series on FX or something.

  • Broderick

    I think the movies was great I wish the the studio would reconsider not making the sequel. I think we as fan should start a online campain for an seguel.

  • Decker

    I’m sorry, this movie was bad. Joe does not deserve the sequel. The first comment was right, don’t blame this on the world cup. I’m sure people who did see it didn’t tell their friends it was good because of the world cup. People didn’t buy the DVD because of the world cup.

    The story was terrible. Face’s plan, was to play the cup game with big freight containers? Really. Oh no! MR.T doesn’t like violence! Way to waste one of your biggest assets for 3/4′s of the movie only for the mohawk reveal that falls flat.

    These comments here are probably the most generous that the movie has received and the verdict is an enthusiastic “It’s watchable!”

  • MJ

    The A-Team and The Losers were both awesome movies, and they both deserve a sequel.

    Or more than that.

  • KmanXpress

    A-TEAM ROCKS! SEQUEL REQUIRED!

  • me

    look im 13 and this ovie 4 me was and still is epic, i’d be cool 4 a seaqual and a show to be made i love A team

  • me

    spelt most of em wrong soz tired see

  • Anonymous

    First movie rocked. They need to make a sequel.

  • Danny

    For all nay Sayers the A-team series and movie never aimed for realism but pure fun and entertainment this movie should have a sequel or a tv series definitely will be fun and entertainment as reminescent as the original i think the movie route definitely be better, people could have made a killing if they released recently because I haven’t seen a good movie since batman rising too bad producers were not smart enough to give this film a thumbs up and a go ahead.

  • yashank

    plzzzzzz make the sequel of a team……itz a fantastic movie……m dieng to see it…..plzzzzzplzzz

  • toby

    Realistic??? Critics??? SHUT UP!!! It was fun! That’s why The A Team was so good. The cast got the characters down, it had action, it had comedy, it was a blast! I hate critics and take no notice of them. All they do is moan! “A tank out of a plane, not realistic….” No but it’s fun and looks cool! “Quinton Rampage Jackson mumbled blah blah blah” Yes, because he is a meat head who can tear you a new breath hole without breaking a sweat!!!! As B.A is supposed to be! Mr. T was an awesome actor of course….. No he wasn’t was he! But he was perfect for B.A like Rampage was.
    The A Team was great. Neeson was awesome, THERE SHOULD BE A SEQUEL!!!

  • dan hassett

    leave reality at the door and just do a sequel……i love when a plane comes together

  • Ann

    Personally I really enjoyed the A-team movie. I am not the target audience, being a woman in my 30′s. However I did grow up watching the TV show, not as regularly as my husband, but it was a part of my childhood. The movie, I thought, was done in the same campiness as the TV show. I Really liked seeing what the back story was on this movie. The TV show never really explained Why this team was being “Hunted” by the government or what they had done to have been kicked out of the military and thrown into prison. Now I could be wrong and just missed that episode but I did ask my Husband and he said the TV show hadn’t explained it. I thought the casting was perfect. The main characters were great. I saw a lot of comments about B.A not being cast right, but honestly I thought the actor did a great job trying to play a character that is so ingrained into popular culture as Mr. T. It was a role that people already had built into their minds as Mr. T, so any actor taking on the part would have had criticism. The other actors did fantastic, I thought. The movie really was done as a big budget version of the TV show. Which It was how it Should have been done. Think if they had done it serious? Or had action sequences that were “realistic” the movie would have been thourghly trashed for doing that. I think that probably most people who hated this movie probably didn’t get the TV show. It’s hard to take Any iconic pop culture thing and reboot it into a new movie. I can’t think of any besides the new Dark Knight series that has been able to really pull it off. Either they do really bad at the box office or they are hated by critics. Think about Land of the Lost, Dark Shadows, Charlie’s Angels, Bewitched, the Beverly Hillbillies, 21 Jump Street, Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Dukes of Hazzard, Dudley Do Right, Car 54 Where Are You, etc, etc, etc……( I really could go on and on here). Like I said either these movies do horrible or are hated, or they bring out very mixed reactions in people; Just read the comments above to see what I am talking about. If they can do sequels to other TV show movies I think they could do one for The A-Team. I mean we have a sequel coming out right now to G.I Joe! That one really was not “realistic”, I mean think of the Joe base and the Giant “pool” they trained in? Or the Explosion that Didn’t kill the scientist character, or just the Chase scene in Paris??? Honestly if that movie gets a sequel The A-Team should be a trilogy!

  • Dahlia

    Frankly, three years after the A-Team movie, I don’t understand why hollywood insist on doing dull and surpassed Superman movies and doesn’t launch an A-Team sequel. The film was amazing, funny and had a great cast!

    • linda

      I agree… I bet if they did a sequel, they will be pleasantly surprised.

    • linda

      I agree… I bet if they did a sequel, they will be pleasantly surprised.

  • kelly

    make a sequel!!!!!!!!

  • P.j. Gathergood

    Carnahan relies on the bad marketing argument too much. At the end of the day he pulled off an okayish film but a huge disappointment of what a big screen A-Team movie should be. He tried to make it too many things. The second hour in particular, I didn’t have a clue what was going on most of the time – and when I did, I didn’t particularly care anyway. But most of all, he lost that genuine comic book humour of the classic series.
    Carnahan himself points back that the original series was corny. Well then he should have gone for that same comic-book corny. Wild OTT stunts wasn’t (just) what the original series was about, it was the humour, the eccentricities of the characters – the very thing that Joe made far too serious. Unlike the series, the big screen A-Team were actually very hard to warm to.

    He scored gold with Sharto Copley as Murdock, but the character was criminally underused and given little to work with. Likewise, Rampage Jackson was unexpectedly decent as B.A., but likewise should have featured more – and play up the B.A. / Murdock love/hate of the original series. Liam Neeson, great when cast in the right role was far too cold as Hannibal, but the film’s worst flaw was basically hijacking it as a vehicle of Bradley Cooper – and even his version of Face lacked the fun, far-fetched scams of the original.
    It was better than the offensively bad movie take on ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’, but the big screen version of ‘The A-Team’ should and could have been so much more.

  • lady bell

    I just watched the a team for 2nd time and loved it once again…funny, action….yes my kind of film…please can we have a sequel. Xxx

  • rbbanks

    This movie needs a sequel period

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