For ‘The A-Team,’ Jessica Biel brings the big guns
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Chris Lee checks in with this exlcusive for the Hero Complex...
On film, Jessica Biel has fought off Leatherface (in the 2003 reboot of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), played an Austro-Hungarian duchess (in the art house mystery “The Illusionist”) and even served as the objet du desir for Adam Sandler’s closeted heterosexual schlemiel (in 2007’s “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry’).
But Biel had a challenge of entirely different caliber with “The A-Team,” which opens June 11.
She portrays Army specialist Lt. Charisa Sosa, ex-paramour of the Team’s dashing rogue, Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Bradley Cooper). Her character becomes the squad’s arresting officer when the four Iraq war covert operatives are set up for a crime they didn’t commit. And, as the actress explained in between scenes on the film’s Vancouver set in December, she had to bring in the big guns for her role.
“I’ve been training a lot with an M4 semi-automatic assault rifle, a machine gun and a Beretta 9-millimeter,” Biel said, crisply attired in full military dress detail, her hair pulled back in a demure ponytail for the court-martial scene.
In other words, don’t expect the former ‘7th Heaven’ ingenue to show up as mere eye candy in “The A-Team.” “It is so physically challenging – holding up your gun, firing your magazine, reloading,’ Biel said. ‘It’s a strain on your shoulders and upper back. A machine gun hangs around your neck, and it’s incredibly heavy. Plus you have all the magazines strapped around your chest and stomach. With the vest, it really pulls!”
Unlike the film’s B.A. Baracus (former UFC champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson), and its H.M. “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock, Sharlto Copley of last summer’s “District 9,” Biel was not a lifelong super-fan who can recite chapter and verse of “The A-Team.” Before and even after taking on her role, in fact, the actress maintained a willful ignorance of the movie’s source material. “I’ve never seen it to this day,” Biel, 28, admitted of the Reagan-era prime-time sensation. “I don’t want to see what we’re working against. Until we’re done with this, I thought, ‘I’m not going to look at it so we can do something completely fresh.’ I’ll look at it when we’re done.” She paused, then added: “I hear it’s borderline cheesy. That might not have worked for our film.”
-- Chris Lee
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UPDATE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly summarized the plot of ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry’
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