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JOE CARNAHAN on THE A-TEAM: An Exclusive HTF Interview with Joe Carnahan

Fox Interview

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#1 of 4 Timothy E

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Posted December 11 2010 - 11:05 AM

On December 9, 2010, 20th Century Fox Studios presented a preview of the special features on the Blu-ray and DVD releases of The A-Team being released on December 14, 2010. The event was hosted by director Joe Carnahan(Smokin’ Aces, Narc) who spoke about the challenges of updating a beloved TV series.


Carnahan is a fan of the original tv series although he admitted that his passions leaned more towards Miami Vice than to The A-Team in the 1980s. In bringing The A-Team into the present era, Carnahan felt it was appropriate to have the characters be veterans of the Iraq conflict rather than Vietnam, but he made his best efforts to do so without making light of the present conflict.


Following the official presentation, Joe Carnahan sat down with the Home Theater Forum to provide an exclusive interview about The A-Team, as well as a discussion of Carnahan’s personal interests in film and television.


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


HTF: In translating the A-Team from TV to movies, did you encounter any unique challenges to this film that you have not encountered on any other films?


CARNAHAN: No, just dealing with kind of a built-in fan base and people who had already preset or preconceived notions about what the movie should or should not be, that’s always like, you are trying to hit some dedicated slaloms in that hole on that course so that I think was more of a, not a hindrance, it was a challenge and kind of making those determinations of what we wanted to keep from the show and what we wanted to lose, that was tough but at the same time necessary. You know you can’t just, as I said before, you can’t just pluck it out of one era and drop it into another and have any real success, I think it requires a little more finesse than that.


HTF: Have you encountered any fans or comments that have been particularly vocal that were memorable to you?


CARNAHAN: You know what, I try not to read any of that stuff just because, listen, if you are going to believe all of the great things people say about it, you have to believe all of the negative things. I think I was in a situation where I just wanted to do my own thing and I wanted to put my own spin on this particular project and, by extension, whatever that show was. It’s like I always think of the way a novelist will look at his book, you know, the book is right there on the shelf, the movie is its own thing, and I think that that’s the way I approach this, it’s like nothing was ever going to change the A-Team as a television show, we were simply doing a 2-hour version of that, of a story with those characters, and what it is too is it’s really an origin story. I mean we’re basically positing how these guys came together so, yeah, I try to stay away from that stuff.


HTF: Having done this show, are there any other TV shows or even movies that you would be interested in remaking?


CARNAHAN: I always was and I remain a huge fan of the Six Million Dollar Man. I always loved the Six Million Dollar Man as a kid and I had heard they were going to make it a couple years back and it was going to be a comedy and I thought that was just a huge mistake because it was just such a fantastic, I love that, especially that era, that would be something that I think if you made it [take place] in the 70s, it would actually be kind of cool if you just kept it in that era, but I can’t think of anything beyond that, I was a big Magnum, P.I. fan as a kid but I think somebody, I’m sure, will beat me to that punch but the Six Million Dollar Man was one of my favorites.


HTF: You and I are close to the same age so we like some of the same things, I mean, the Six Million Dollar Man was the big thing when I was a kid and I went right into Magnum, P.I. after that.


CARNAHAN: Right, right, those were great shows, man. They were very like of their time and you know Magnum I think it is overlooked because there were some fairly dark episodes of Magnum, P.I. that were kind of overlooked that I remember being very influential on me at the time.


HTF: I know they talk about making a comedy of that as well but I think that would be the wrong way to go.


CARNAHAN: Absolutely. Starsky and Hutch was never a comedy. I mean it was the guys had great chemistry but it was never a comedy, it was always a little more serious. Miami Vice, Michael Mann worked on that and this show too. He was a writer on staff for Starsky and Hutch. Yeah, it’s always tough, man, you never know kind of which way the wind is going to blow, which way the public is going to perceive, you know, your translation or your take on something which they loved as a kid. It’s dangerous ground.


HTF: Are there any writers or directors that you particularly admire or emulate, either still in the business or perhaps in the past?


CARNAHAN: Oh gosh, I mean the guys that are working now, I am a big P.T. Anderson fan, I like Darren Aronofsky a lot, Chris Nolan and I think those are all really great, inspirational guys. I go back to, I love Cassavetes, and a lot of Hitchcock films, and you know Spielberg, especially Spielberg on Jaws, Close Encounters, and Raiders, those are my, and Kurosawa probably is one of my top three of all time.


HTF: Do you have a favorite Kurosawa film?


CARNAHAN: Oh boy... Yojimbo. I love Throne of Blood, Rashomon, Seven Samurai, of course, but I think Yojimbo. Toshire Mifune I think is at his most charming and that movie has been knocked off so many times but I love it.


HTF: Even in Star Wars.


CARNAHAN: Even Star Wars. Well, [Hidden] Fortress was Star Wars too you know so I love Kurosawa.


HTF: How about Hitchcock, is there anything with his work that you particularly like?


CARNAHAN: I just loved Hitchcock, I love the formalists like I love, I just saw Vertigo recently and it just has this kind of, it has a really hallucinatory quality to it. I loved North By Northwest. Psycho is, as much as has been made of that film, it’s still amazing how shockingly brutal and violent that movie is, even for a black and white film, you watch that shower scene, man, and it’s like, wow, I mean it’s really disturbingly graphic and, but again, you’re talking about kind of, that’s the master, I mean that’s the guy, he got that, he understood that milieu I think better than anybody ever has, you know.


HTF: Have you seen the Blu-ray of Psycho?


CARNAHAN: No. I have not.


HTF: It’s great looking.


CARNAHAN: Is it really? I am anxious to see it because I feel like the older movies seem to hold up better for me on Blu-ray.


HTF: I felt like I was watching it for the first time seeing it on Blu-ray now.


CARNAHAN: Really? That’s how I felt when I put Road Warrior in on Blu-ray and it just, it blew my mind. I mean it made it look like it was shot last week.


HTF: Is that one of your favorite films as well?


CARNAHAN: I love Road Warrior. Absolutely. Big, big fan of, well I also think it has that great moment with Mel Gibson where, you know, he says "You want to get out of here, you talk to me" and it’s like you can look at that moment and go, that’s where that guy became a superstar. That’s where Mel Gibson became a big star because it was such a Steve McQueen kind of moment, you know, and he was twenty-three, twenty-four when he made that movie. That’s unbelievable.


HTF: What can fans look forward to seeing in the extended cut versus the theatrical cut of The A-Team?


CARNAHAN: Well, I think what you can look forward to seeing is a lot more of the movie in a good way, not in a way where it just feels like we cobbled together a bunch of deleted scenes and threw them in, but it’s still fully functioning.  The extended version of the movie stands all on its own, you know what I mean? And I think there’s a lot more of the character interplay and a lot more of that stuff, which is unfortunately one of the first casualties when, you know, you’re making this kind of a film, is that the character stuff tends to be sacrificed at the altar of running length, so it was that stuff I am pretty proud of, but I just think it’s a good...  While it’s not a director’s cut of the film, it’s kind of a hybrid of what I thought was right for the theatrical version, I did not necessarily think was right for the extended version, which I thought people would have more time to kind of, you know, if you are like me I go through all of the features and all of that stuff and I like to watch those versions because I like to see what else was going on, so I try to stay true to that kind of thesis in this thing and make it really enjoyable. Not just, like I said, not just a bunch of padding, you know what I mean?


HTF: Sure. Well, I will look forward to seeing it. Thank you very much.


CARNAHAN: You are very welcome. 



#2 of 4 Adam Gregorich

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Posted December 13 2010 - 07:11 AM

Great interview, thanks Tim!.  I'm really looking forward to tomorrow when I can pick this up.



#3 of 4 TravisR

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Posted December 13 2010 - 07:16 AM

I was never a huge fan of the TV series but this was definitely a fun summer movie.



#4 of 4 Parker Clack

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Posted December 22 2010 - 07:48 PM

Just watched this the other day and really enjoyed it. I think it would be fantastic if the cast and director made a TV series out of this. You could tell

they had a lot of fun making it and the chemistry between the actors was great.


I went in thinking it was be pretty lame and came out liking it as well if not more so than the original TV series.



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