Benjamin Svetkey
June 09, 2010 AT 10:33 PM EDT

Image Credit: Doug CurranFor Liam Neeson, the hardest part of playing “Hannibal” Smith in the new A-Team movie wasn’t the stunt work (like free-falling out of an airplane in an armored tank) or remembering his dialogue (“I love it when a plan comes together!”), or even dying his hair silver in an homage to the late George Peppard. No, it was lighting up all those stogies. “I’m an ex-smoker,” says the 57-year-old Irish actor. “I’m off cigarettes for 17 years. But I never got the appeal of cigars until that bloody movie. They weren’t just cigars — they were Cuban cigars, since we were filming in Canada. There was a moment during rehearsals when I lit one up and I remember thinking, ‘Whoops. I totally get cigars.’” Neeson, it turns out, wasn’t the only one who fell in love with Cubans on the A-Team set. “Bradley Cooper is an ex-smoker, too,” he goes on. “He would sit next to me and say, ‘Mmm. Would you blow some of that my way?’”

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