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The spoof film Not Another Teen Movie is one of those films that occupies a strange middle ground between popularity and obscurity. And one of the most memorable moments in that film was a cameo by Mr. T. himself, which as it turns out, the legendary 80's icon agreed to do for one reason alone: the almighty T was doing it for the kids.
During his rather insightful talk with Uproxx, Mr. T spilled about various moments and projects he'd experienced through his life. One of the more surprising moments that ended up being discussed was that cameo in 2001's Not Another Teen Movie, in which Mr. T explained just what drove him to play a part in the cult hit. As shown in the quote below, the man who kicked a quarter of the ass kicked in the 80's had his legacy in mind when he imparted wisdom to a young Chris Evans.
That was a fun movie. The kids need to see Mr. T in another light. I played that wise janitor. "Believe in the ball, and throw yourself." [Laughs.] What’s that even mean? But it was fun. You’ve got to get yourself out there in different ways. And I like to do stuff like that because there’s always a new audience out there. And you’ve got to speak to them somehow.
Now we're not going to say that this scene between Mr. T and the man who would be Captain America is the reason that Chris Evans got the role, but what we will say is that the wisdom of the T surely couldn't have hurt in the matter. As we said in the opening, Not Another Teen Movie is one of those odd ducks in cinematic history that, while not being huge mega hits, can be positively remembered by a sizable, and loyal, fan base. A big part of that success is because of how expertly the film rips the teen flicks of the 80's, as well as the 90's, with cameos and jokes that the audience at large will remember.
So while you may have been an 80's kid getting a laugh at Molly Ringwald's showstopping cameo, or a 90's kid losing it over Chris Evans' rendition of "Janie's Got A Gun," there was something for everyone – and Mr. T saw that from square one. Part of why Mr. T's legacy has endured is owed to his cameo in Not Another Teen Movie, but mostly it's because of that fundamental truth he admitted in his statement above. New audiences can be won over if you know how to speak to them, and in the case of his out of nowhere cameo, the trick was to fit into the film, while keeping the Mr. T magic alive. Keeping that in mind, feel free to rewatch that crucial scene, mindful of the knowledge that Mr. T has imparted upon us all.
Between this and Mr. T's opinion on the recent adaptation of The A-Team, one has to wonder whether we'll see the dawn of a sort of Mr. T renaissance in the near future. The man has a lot of knowledge to impart, lives to improve, and, of course, fools to pity - and we hope he won't cease taking part in any of those activities any time soon.