The upcoming “A-Team” movie is interesting because it's four stars enjoy different kinds of fame. You’ve got the respected veteran actor (Liam Neeson), the post-hype guy hoping to prove his recent blockbuster was no fluke (Bradley Cooper), the we-know-nothing-about-him-but-want-to-know-more up-and-comer (Sharlto Copley) and the non-actor whose fame was born outside of Hollywood, an “And introducing...” rookie whose career could take off (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson). Now, one of these guys might follow up the summer '10 TV adaptation by immediately re-teaming with director Joe Carnahan.
“There’s a thing I’m gonna do next called ‘The Grey, and I think there’s a very good chance that one of the members of this cast will do this film with me,” the “Smokin’ Aces” filmmaker revealed when we spoke to him recently about being one of our “10 to Watch in ‘10” selections. “We’ll be doing it soon.”
Carnahan wouldn’t specify whether it’s Neeson, Cooper, Copley or Rampage who is talking to him about going back-to-back for the wildnerness thriller, but confirmed that it’s one of those four men. “I cannot [tell you who], no,” he apologized. “Then you start to jinx it; one of these guys, though, yes.”
As for the film itself, “It’s essentially about this group of guys who work on the oil rigs in Alaska and are flying back to civilization after being out there for a number of months. The 737 they’re on goes down, and the survivors begin being hunted by this pack of rogue wolves, grey wolves,” he explained. “A buddy of mine wrote a short story that I optioned from him, and I did all this research.”
“The territoriality of wolves is stunning – they have a 300-mile territorial range and a 30 mile kill-range; if you’re in that range, they’re coming for you,” he continued. “It’s amazing that this stuff has not been documented, to the level of how these wolves operate, and I was just fascinated by it. I saw it as a survival/monster movie. There’s a very good chance we’re going to start prepping that right after ‘The A-Team’ comes out.”
“The most interesting aspect to me of this particular movie is these wolves are not killing them for food; they’re just murdering them, because they’re a threat. They’re not scavenging for food; they’re killing [these humans] and then moving on,” he said of the story. “It’s a bleak movie, but it’s couched within the diameter of an action film; an adventure movie. A Jack London ‘Call of the Wild’ or something like that. I tried not to get too existential with it; you’ve got to entertain people.”
Carnahan imagines it as a human drama combined with the isolation and terror of an '80s horror classic. “I love the original ‘The Thing.’ Not Howard Hawks’ [uncredited] version, but John Carpenter’s version is fantastic,” he explained. “It’s movies like that which inspire me, but at the same time, the audience will have to deal with the reality that this could happen, as opposed to the traditional monster movie or paranormal experience. This is something that, God forbid you’re trapped in the middle of nowhere and have to deal with these things, what do you do? They don’t have any sense of [morality]; you’re just [prey].”
Which of the four "A-Team" stars will take on Carnahan's wolves is anybody’s guess; stay tuned to MTV for further details as they develop. One casting decision can be revealed, however: the director will be using animatronics to stand in for his wolves, not CGI.
“I’m a little dubious about the whole CGI thing,” Carnahan revealed. “The wolves have two speeds: they’re either moving so fast that you can’t distinguish them or they’re standing stock still, at which point I can use [animatronics] – the work that Stan Winston’s company is doing [is amazing]. We’ve gotten so far away from this, we’ve forgotten how great some of those creature shops are that can still produce these things and make them look startlingly real and terrifying. That’s where I want to go; I get worried that we’re getting way too dependent on CG, and it’s become a catch-all. In a lot of ways, as much as it’s evolved, it still hasn’t evolved.”
Which “A-Team” star would you most like to see Carnahan ink to this project?