It is being reported that Liam Neeson is in talks with 20th Century Fox to join the cast of the upcoming remake of popular 80's series, The A-Team, as none other than group leader, Col. John "Hannibal" Smith. The role was made famous by George Peppard with his aged, grizzled, but ass-kicking demeanor, cigar in mouth, and signature line, "I love it when a plan comes together."
Is this good casting? I certainly think so! For a time, the role was rumored to be going to a more bankable action star in Bruce Willis. However, I think that stylistically, Willis would not be right for the character. It requires the actor not only to be grizzled and wise, but to carry with him, just "a hint" of class. Hannibal is a character that seems to be molded in "proper" society, and changed by war. (Whereas, Willis, just oozes a New York-style aura that's inescapable in any role he plays.) Yet, despite his rough exterior, Hannibal always seems to carry sensibilities from both of those worlds. Neeson may be tailor-made for something like that. (And that is not to say that I am giving any kind of "blessing" for this remake/rehash.)
While Neeson may have roots in drama and "proper" British fare, he has also shown that he can pull of action. He secretly stuck it to the Nazi's in Schindler's List (not action, but "action-like"), martyred himself at the hands of Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, and humiliated human traffickers in Taken. Liam can get it done, if he wants. Besides, if George Peppard can go from chasing around Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's to blowing s**t up (mysteriously enough, without ever having a single enemy casualty) with Face, Murdock, and B.A., then Liam Neeson will have no trouble!
If the role pans out for Neeson, he will be the second cast member named, with Bradley Cooper seemingly locked in to play Templeton "Face" Peck (the role made famous by a post-Galactica Dirk Benedict.) Meanwhile, the roles of H.M. Murdock and B.A. Baracus remain vacant.
The projected release date for The A-Team is June 11, 2010. (Exactly one year from tomorrow, how's that?)