Liam Neeson leads the renegade band of ex-soldiers in the big-budget remake of the campy TV show

By Oliver Jones
January 15, 2010 08:00 AM
Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

To pound his body into shape for the big-budget version of The A-Team, Bradley Cooper speed-hiked up The Grind, a famous trail outside of Vancouver that shoots up 2,800 feet of mountainside, completing the grueling trek in just 37 minutes.

“The man,” says director Joe Carnahan, “is a beast.”

Based on the campy NBC series that made a household name out of Mr. T (his part of Bosco “B.A.” Baracas in the remake is played by former UFC champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson), The A-Team film follows a renegade band of disgraced former Special Forces soldiers lead by John “Hannibal” Smith, a wisecracking, cigar-chomping master tactician played with relish by Liam Neeson.

The Hangover star Cooper plays a buffed-up version of the team’s pretty boy, Templeton “Faceman” Peck. “Bradley really went for it with the workouts,” says South African actor Sharlto Copley (District 9), who plays pilot and demolition expert “Howling Mad” Murdoch. “I on the other hand got to eat whatever I wanted.”
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And crashing this testosterone fest is Jessica Biel, playing an Army officer in hot pursuit of the team. “Jessica surprised me,” says Copley. “She is really, really talented when it comes to guns.”

The film is due for release June 11.

For more of PEOPLE’s exclusive look at the A-Team, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE.