Mr. T honored to have Jackson reprise role on 'A-Team'
So there I was, killing time in a restaurant before last week's Strikeforce media workouts in Chicago, when all of a sudden the incomparable Mr. T sits down right next me.
Clad in his familiar American flag bandana and a cut-off T-shirt, Mr. T kept to himself, and surprisingly no one bothered him.
That is until I decided to ask him his thoughts on Rampage Jackson reprising his role as "B.A. Baracus" in the upcoming A-Team movie.
"I have much love for him," Mr. T said. "I do. It's going to become a pressure thing because people are going to come up to him and say, 'Hey, you're not Mr. T.' They are going to try to get in his head just to meddle with him.
"But very rarely do they do a movie remake with the TV cast. I'm honored."
There had been some rumblings that Mr. T was offended that he wasn't chosen to play the role of "Baracus" again, but the 57-year-old vehemently denied those rumors.
"It's not even about me anymore because I'm Mr. T. Mr. T was also "Clubber Lang." ... But as far as Rampage is concerned, I like his style, his toughness. He'll bring his own unique personality to that role. Like the guy who plays "Murdock" or the guy who plays "Hannibal," Liam Neeson. I like Liam Neeson. I saw him in Schindler's List, I was like, 'Man, I like this guy.' So, I'm not mad at anybody. Like I told a guy in New York in an interview, When the movie comes out, I'm going to go see it, and I'm going to enjoy it. I'm not one of those who would say, 'Hey, it should have been me.' No, I'm too blessed to be stressed," he said.
"I would have to pity myself if I get mad at anybody."
Mr. T, born Laurence Tureaud, also drew some parallels between himself and the former light heavyweight champion.
"He wears steel chains, I used to wear gold chains. But I stopped wearing my gold as of 2005. See, as a Christian, I felt that it would be a sin against God for me to continue wearing my gold, while the people in Katrina lost everything. I felt it would be insensitive and disrespectful to the people."
Mr. T wasn't aware that Jackson had recently quit the UFC because he was offended by the way UFC president Dana White dealt with the news of him having to pull out of his UFC 107 fight against Rashad Evans. When I told him about Jackson's sudden rift with White, Mr. T spoke directly to him.
"Quinton, you hear me, brother: just keep prayerful. When you are praying to God, you won't go wrong. Ask God to give you strength and to guide you. People are going to try to say things to purposefully get you off track. You see, that is what they do: they love to build you and then cut you down.
"You can't go wrong if you stay with God because society is going to try to eat him up and mess with his head. Because if I wasn't close to God, I would be gone a long time ago."
Mr. T said he's never met Jackson, but hoped to do so after filming completed. The movie is set to hit theaters on June 11, 2010.
And while he wasn't aware that Jackson recently wrote in his blog about how much it meant to him to play the role of "B.A. Baracus," Mr. T seemed genuinely touched when he heard about it.
"Someday we will get together. I won't bother him while he's filming. I'll let him get his filming done, and then I'll see him afterwards. That's when the pressure is going to come on. People are going to try to get some stuff on him," he said.
"The fact that I am older than him, I can impart some things on him."