A-Team interview: Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson


26th July 2010

Yesterday, I posted my interview with Sharlto Copley for The A-Team, which is out this week. Here's my chat with Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, who plays BA Baracus. It did not go quite as well.

I was a little nervous before interviewing Rampage Jackson, as usually actors have a 'bullshit' button they can push when asked any question and they can spew for hours - you just need to prompt them. Not Rampage. He was hard work. I'd prepared around 30 questions for him, which is more than I usually would, but he straight-up stone-walled me on almost every question. Every time he answers with more than one sentence, I pretty much had to prompt him to do so. Then, he's not an actor, so fair enough.

Also, a confession. I was recording the conversation to transcribe later on (common practice) but was using my mobile phone to do so, which emits a faint beep every 5-10 seconds. It's not ideal, but no one has ever raised a problem with it before, or even mentioned it. Not Rampage.

: You're over here in the UK, right?

Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson: That's right. I've been here several times. It's cool. What's that beeping in my ear?

: That's just me recording the conversation. I hope that's okay.

RJ: [huge pause] How long is this interview going to be?

: Er... 20 minutes?

RJ: Man, I hear that really good. That beeping's gonna annoy me. You can't stop the beeping?

: I can't really. [panicking] I can be quick if you like. You're playing B.A. in the new version of The A-Team. Tell us a little bit about how you became involved in the film.

RJ: Well, I auditioned for it, I've done a few films here and there. I was interested in playing B.A. Baracus, and if there was a chance they were ever going to make an A-Team movie, I was interested in playing him. It came about, so I had to go audition for it.

: What did the audition involve?

RJ: It was just a regular audition, just read the script, read the lines.

: You were one of the first actors to be cast, but how did the project change when John Singleton left?

RJ: John Singleton told me he wanted me to play the part, and he told me to work with an acting coach. He told me he wanted me to play B.A. Baracus, but he never 100% just gave me the part. He told me I was his choice for the movie, but I couldn't act at the time, so...

: You've said that you saw an acting coach to prepare for the role, what kind of work did you focus on with him?

RJ: Just acting, delivering lines, regular stuff. He taught me how to basically be myself on camera.

: What was it like working with Joe Carnahan when he took over?

RJ: I re-auditioned for him. Joe's a great director, a funny guy. We got along great. He's just an artist, he's real good at what he does.

: How did you celebrate when you knew you'd got the part of BA?

RJ: I was just happy! Actually, when I got the part, I was still not able to tell anybody. I had to keep it a secret. I remember that, I couldn't tell nobody. I didn't really celebrate. I was happy, but I didn't know what I was getting myself into... [laughs]

: You have a background in UFC. Did that prepare you for a tough shoot on The A-Team?

RJ: Prepare me? No. Hell no! This shoot was something else.

: Tell us a little bit about UFC. You have a fight coming up soon, right?

RJ: Yeah, May 29th.

: And who are you fighting?

RJ: Rashad Evans. [Ed's note - he lost]

: You're still fighting in the UFC while promoting The A-Team. What does a day's training consist of for Rampage Jackson?

RJ: It consists of a lot of work, for real.

: [pause]. Okay... How did you approach playing such an iconic role? Did you want to pay homage to Mr. T or try and bring your own thing to the table?

RJ: There's only one Mr. T. It'd be stupid to try and act like Mr. T, right? I haven't spoken to him. I don't know what his take is on it.

: Do you know if Mr. T is going to be in the movie?

RJ: What?

: [louder] Do you know if Mr. T is going to be in the movie?

RJ: Man, I don't know.

: You wear chains for your UFC bouts, but your BA doesn't wear the gold chains! Why is that?

RJ: I don't know, ask the director!

: [mock huffing] I'm talking to him on Tuesday, maybe I will! B.A. is a tough guy, as are you, but he also has fears - he won't get on a plane. What scares Rampage Jackson?

RJ: I'm scared of a lot of stuff.

: [exasperated] What, what are you scared of?

I'm scared of ghosts, stuff like that. Stuff I can't beat up! Ghosts. Goats. I'm scared of three-legged goats. Nah, I don't like ghosts, all that stuff.

: If it's only stuff you can't beat up, there can't be much you're scared of...

RJ: [unimpressed grunt]

: Do you have a favourite line of B.A.'s from the movie?

RJ: Nah. I'm a weird guy, I don't really have favourite stuff. People always ask me, what's my favourite this, what's my favourite that? Since I've become a professional, I didn't even know this about myself, but I learned that I don't have favourite stuff.

You know in your phone, you have 'Favourites'? I have nothing in my 'Favourites' on my phone. Is that weird that I don't have favourite things? I think it's weird I don't have a favourite song, or a favourite movie. I'm starting to think that's weird now, because people keep asking me.

: Maybe you should start having some favourites. Just pick some, for interviews. Just so you've got something to say. [Ed's note - At this point, I covered my mouth in horror because I realised it sounded really nasty, and I hadn't meant it to. Maybe it was me subconsciously willing the interview to a premature close]

RJ: [bored] Okay.

Follow us on Twitter @The_Shiznit for more fun features, film reviews and occasional commentary on what the best type of crisps are.
We are using Patreon to cover our hosting fees. So please consider chucking a few digital pennies our way by clicking on this link. Thanks!

Share This