A-Team : Faceman Dirk Benedict blasts the new movie
EIGHTIES TV star Dirk Benedict has blasted the new A Team movie - even though he appears in it.
The Faceman, who is playing as Columbo at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre this month, hasn't seen the finished film yet.
But he grouses: "They'll screw it up".
"They will do to it what they did to Battlestar Galactica, probably," he complains.
Dirk, 65, who shot to fame as the womanizing Lt Starbuck in the original Battlestar Galactica series back in the late 70s, was upset when the 2004 'reboot' recast Starbuck as a woman.
"It wasn't the show I made," he says. "I played an iconic character, but they turned him into a girl! When you do Star Wars you don't turn Han Solo into a girl, Hannah Solo.
"When you do Rio Bravo you don't have Madonna get her boots out to play John Wayne.
"Create another character instead."
Dirk also starred as smooth-talking con artist Templeton "Faceman" Peck in the A Team, about a group of Vietnam veterans turned soldiers of fortune who would fashion assault vehicles out of odds and ends to escape from the sheds and warehouses they were invariably locked up in.
The new film, to be released in July has Liam Neeson in the role of team leader Hannibal Smith (first played by the late George Peppard) and The Hangover's Bradley Cooper as Face.
Dirk has a cameo along with Dwight Schultz, who was the team's pilot. Howling Mad Murdock.
"You'll miss me if you blink. I kind of regret doing it because it's a non-part," says Dirk.
"They wanted to be able to be able to say: 'Oh yeah, the original cast are in it' but we're not.
"It is three seconds. It's kind of insulting."
Ironically, Dirk counts being in the A Team as one of the happiest times of his career - even though it effectively killed it.
"Nobody would hire me after the A Team," he explains. "I was too closely associated and it was a stupid show.
"The industry didn't like it. None of us went on and had a career after that : George, Dwight, Mr T. We were not well-loved.
"But doing Battlestar and the A team were, professionally, the best times of my life. Everything after that was so pale and boring, which I think was why I never really cared if I did another TV series."
Instead he concentrated on raising his sons, George and Roland, after gaining custody following his divorce from their mother, Toni Hudson.
He played Mr Mom to them in a cabin in Montana, raising them on the macrobiotic diet - "I eat really simply, like a little Chinese coolie" - he has followed since the 70s when he used it to help him fight prostate cancer.
He raised money by occasionally going on speaking engagements and cruises where he would talk about diet and alternative therapies, and by endorsing a health product.
"I knew I couldn't be a great father and have a successful career and I didn't want to do each of them halfway," he adds.
Dirk also had a stint in Celebrity Big Brother 2007, the controversial fifth series that spawned the race row between Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty, and which was eventually won by the Bollywood beauty.
Second in the final running was Jermaine Jackson, followed by Dirk in third place.
* Dirk stars as Columbo in Prescription: Murder at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre from May 24 to 29. Box office: 01902 429212.