THE A-TEAM – John Singleton – Exclusive Interview

     January 12, 2008

I love it when a plan comes together.

Sometimes you can’t plan an interview. Try as you might, things just fall apart. Then, you have days like yesterday. You’re waiting for your car at the valet of a hotel and standing right next to you is John Singleton – the director of 20th Century Fox’s upcoming big screen adaptation of “The A-Team.”

While I wasn’t sure he was directing the film when I was standing there, I knew he was involved. Usually I leave people alone when they’re in public, but I really wanted to know what was up with the movie, especially with Ice Cube recently saying that he wants to play B.A. Baracus.

Since his car came right before mine, I passed by his and we starting talking. One thing led to another and all of a sudden I had my tape recorder in hand and was getting some quotes.

So if I had some time to prepare, I might have asked a few other questions…like will it be PG-13 or R. But for not knowing this was going to happen, I think I did pretty good.

I will say that after talking with John – both on and off the record – I really think he’s going to make a great movie. He knows exactly what tone he wants and it sounds like he only signed on because the script is really good.

The best part of the conversation is he told me he wants Woody Harrelson to play Murdock! Don’t know about the rest of you, but I think that’s a great choice.

Anyway, here are some of the highlights.

  • No one has been cast yet
  • He wants Woody Harrelson to play Murdock
  • The movie is not a farce like Starsky and Hutch – will be like an 80’s action movie. He said think Lethal Weapon, very serious but with humor
  • Everyone signing on will sign for multiple films
  • No budget yet

Again, while I think John can make a great “A-Team” movie, it does make me nervous that it’s 20th Century Fox making the film. While they can market ice to Eskimos, they have a tendency of not spending enough money to make a great film. In my opinion, they do just enough to get it into theaters. While it is “The A-Team,” I think this is one of those properties that could transition very well to the big screen. I just hope they’ll give John the freedom and budget to make it a great movie.

On that note….here is what John said. The interview is divided up into two parts, and as always, you can either read what he said or listen to the audio as an MP3. Here is part one, and here is part two.

Collider: So what’s going on with A-Team as we speak?

John Singleton: A-Team is going. It’s not a comic movie farce like Starsky and Hutch, it’s kind of in the tradition of the 80’s action pictures, the man’s movies like Die Hard, Predator, Commando, or even Lethal Weapon – more so than anything else. The action is very serious, but there is humor. That’s what we are going for. I don’t know who is in the cast yet, so all this bullshit of who is saying who is this person and who is… nobody is playing Mr. T – the character’s name is B.A. Baracus, he will have a Mohawk and there is a moment in the movie where he actually gets the Mohawk cause he’s going crazy. And I don’t know who is in the cast yet…but I do know that the only person I want right now is, that I really, really want is Woody Harrelson to play Murdock – the guy who is crazy but he’s kind of real smart, a jack of all trades. That’s the only person I really, really want.

Collider: So is the script done so you guys could film it?

John: The script is done, the guys who re-wrote it made 3:10 to Yuma happen wrote it. That’s why I signed on, the guys Michael Brandt and Derek Haas wrote the script, a new draft of it, they did 3:10 to Yuma and 2 Fast 2 Furious with me, so that’s why I signed on to it.

Collider: So when do you think you might be ready to go?

John: Soon, like the next few months.

Collider: And one last question, have you guys already talked with the studio…who is producing this?

John: Fox.

Collider: And has Fox already told you a budget?

John: No, they haven’t told me anything yet. We’re just trying to figure out who is in it, and I’m working on all the pyrotechnics and personalities and who is in it.

Collider: Are you directing this?

John: Yeah, I’m directing this.

Collider: So you’re stepping back in.

John: It’s the first movie since Four Brothers that I’m directing. I’ve produced a lot.

We then started talking about other things, but when he came back to “The A-Team,” I started recording again.

John: Well, as where Four Brothers was my homage to 70’s action films, this is my homage to the 80’s action movies.

Collider: So you basically think that the people who were fans of those kinds of 80’s films are really going to be on board with this.

John: Yeah, and the people who are now just going to the movies and don’t know anything about that, will go to it just cause it’s a hot movie. It’s kind of like what they did with the Bourne movies – no nonsense but with a humor, with action. You know what I mean, wall to wall kicking ass and talking shit (he laughs).

Collider: So, with the people who sign onto the project, are you going to make them sign on for multiple films? Is that kind of a contingent?

John: Well, they’d have to. Yeah, cause we want to make sure we have some type of movie that really just goes for a number of films.

Collider: Cool. Thanks so much.

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