Bradley Cooper readily admits his favorite part of making the big-screen adaptation of “The A-Team” was working with Liam Neeson. The Oscar-nominated actor, who plays team leader Hannibal opposite Cooper’s Face, elevated the entire production, he insists. “You can’t really argue with the talent and ability and experience,” Cooper says. “It’s like if you step on a court with Michael Jordan, the court’s going to feel different. He raised everyone’s game.”

 

But Neeson is quick to point out he had some learning to do himself, especially when it came to improvisation — something Cooper does a lot. One particular day of shooting comes to mind for Neeson:

 

“This scene starts that’s not on the page,” he remembers. “Bradley starts this improv, and I’m going, ‘What the hell is this? What is going on?’ And then it would come to my line, and I’d forget my line because I was so busy watching Bradley and [director] Joe [Carnahan]. So it was terrifying, the first few days. I can’t do that s—. I’m an old traditionalist.”

 

For mixed martial arts fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson — stepping into the role of B.A. Baracus, made famous by Mr. T — going up against the likes of Neeson and Cooper in his first major role was nerve-wracking. But he managed to keep his cool — except once. “My first scene working with Liam, when he carjacked me in the van, scared the living daylights out of me,” Jackson says. “I’m from the hood. I’ve been shot at before. But Liam scared the hell out of me.”