Sunday, September 27, 2009

7129: Don’t Pity The Fool.

From The New York Daily News…

Mr. T gives his gruff-but-sweet persona another go with role in ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’

By Ethan Sacks
Daily News Staff Writer

Mr. T pities the foolish person who tries to pigeonhole him as a cartoonish tough guy who’s a relic of ‘80s pop culture.

Now, he’s back in the spotlight as a real cartoon - lending his voice as a tough but tender police officer in the new 3-D computer-animated film “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.”

And though he broke through with an intimidating image cultivated in movies like “Rocky III,” Mr. T, aka Laurence Tureaud, says it’s all an act. Raised by a single mother in a household of 12 kids in a poor Chicago neighborhood, the 57-year-old actor is out to inspire struggling kids in inner cities and beyond.

“’I’m nothing but a big, overgrown tough mama’s boy,” he says. “I won’t get involved with certain movies, I won’t be hanging out in certain places. A lot of people look up to me and I won’t violate that.”

If you haven’t noticed, the former “A-Team” star has strong opinions. Consider yourself warned.

Everything about his shtick was calculated for a higher purpose ... or a higher calling. He used to wear mismatched socks to make poor children more comfortable about not being able to afford stylish clothes.

“It gave me a platform. I’m tough on the outside, but I’m a marshmallow on the inside. That’s what makes it work. The kids know me. The fact that I’m around all those years, a lot of kids have grown up with me. If you check my rap, my rap hasn’t changed. Back then I was telling kids to be good, don’t do drugs, listen to your mother. Even now that they’re grown up and there’s a whole different generation, the message hasn’t changed. There’s a method to my madness. I was a lot deeper than people realized.”

The images of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina changed his life. Mr. T won’t wear real gold jewelry anymore. For recent commercials such as for the “World of Warcraft” game, he puts on only costume jewelry.

“As a Christian I said I would never wear my own gold again because of what happened with Hurricane Katrina. It would be a sin against God for me to wear my gold [when so many] people lost everything. Sure, it’s my trademark, I am the same person whether I’m wearing the gold or not.

“My moral values are the same. The gold don’t make me, I make the gold.”

He sees taking a role in “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” as a chance to connect with a new generation of kids - and his own inner child.

“Every time I was in the recording studio I am visualizing what it’s going to look like when it’s finished. We were in the theater with everybody else with their 3-D glasses on and the crowd and the kids. It takes you back to when you were a kid again.”

As entertaining and funny as he thinks his new movie is, at least one part of the plot was tough for him to digest.

“It’s fun and I’m reaching a whole new audience. But I don’t believe in food fights - because there are too many hungry people in the world.”

He won’t take the bait and complain about not getting cast in the upcoming movie remake of the ‘80s TV action series “The A-Team,” the show that made him a star.

“Quentin (Rampage) Jackson [who is playing B.A. Baracus], I’m a fan of his. He’s the UFC fighting champion. As one tough man to another, I respect him. I’m not mad at Quentin Jackson and I’m not mad at [’A-Team’ creator] Steve Cannell. I like to think he’s my friend, because back in ‘95 when he heard about me going through the chemotherapy for my cancer, he would call me constantly to check up on me. There’s no hard feelings. I’m not mad about nothing. There’s no I in A-team. ... I’m grateful that I had the time [on the show] back in the ‘80s. When the movie comes out, I’m going to go see it and I’m going to enjoy it.”

Don’t assume he’s one of those former ‘80s stars desperate to claw his way back into the limelight.

“If I never make another dollar, if I never get on TV again, all I wanted to do was buy my mother a house and pretty dresses, and I told her I would be a good little boy. And I’m batting a thousand.”

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Way to go Mr. T!