With someone that plays a serious part in Captain America: The Winter Soldier Anthony Mackie is a super chill funny as heck kind of guy. Anthony Mackie Takes Flight as The Falcon in the latest #CaptainAmerica movie. In our interview he shares his thoughts on being the first African-American Super Hero, and working with other cast members.
Check out some the highlights from our interview:
Question: Obvious question, but how is it playing a superhero?
Anthony Mackie: When I first started acting I was like, there are two things I want to do. I want to be a superhero and I want to do a Western, preferably with Clint Eastwood. Then Morgan Freeman took my role in Unforgiven [which hit theaters when Mackie was about 14 years old]. Bastard!
When I got this call, I kinda put things in perspective. I feel like a lot of people are famous for different reasons. Some people are famous because they’re handsome. Some people are famous because they’re British. I’m very happy that I’m famous because I can act. And I feel like this is a job I got because I deserved it.
Question: You’ve worked with Hugh Jackman before [in 2011’s Real Steel], who’s played Wolverine in the movies. When you found out you got the role as The Falcon, did you call him up and ask for any pointers?
Anthony Mackie: No: I did not want to mess up my experience. I completely wanted to come into this naïve, ignorant and my virginal eyes not knowing anything. It’s funny because Sam has done like 15 Marvel movies. And Chris and Scarlett, have done like 6 each. And you know, Sebastian [Stan “The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes”] has done 3. So I was like, you know, don’t kill my vibe. Like I’m having a good time, we’re doing a Marvel movie, we get the best craft services.
We basically shut down the city of Cleveland. I was soakin’ it up. Chris and I have a very good relationship. And literally got to the point where we would show up on set and we were like seven-year-olds. I mean, we had that first day where it’s like, deal with 35-year-old men in costume. We’re losers. And then the next day, we started making fun of each other. Done it the next week, done the next month. And then it just turned into this thing, where it became infectious.
It’s fun when you go to work knowing you’re gonna make a quality product. Because as actors there’s so many people with daddy issues that mess up movies. It’s like, “Oh, I’m gonna edit it this way. Or, I didn’t have a girlfriend in high school so I’m gonna do this.” And it’s like, “Dude, just make a movie!”
I feel like working with Marvel is one of those studios where you go to work and you know everybody leaves their stuff at the door. And they just want to make a good project. So you know, once we got over our suits, we had a good time.
Question: What was it like the first time you put the costume on?
Anthony Mackie: It was great. The first time I put that costume on, I couldn’t stop smiling; I was running around the room. It’s one of those moments where you just have to allow yourself to enjoy it. My costume was 45 minutes to get in it. It was like 5 minutes to get out. But it was fun. I really took every moment to enjoy being a superhero. So yeah, it was a good time.
Question: There must have been lots of guy talk on the set. What was it like to have Scarlett Johansson around?
Anthony Mackie: You know, Scarlett is just a regular chick. It’s weird: you expect her to be a diva or high-maintenance or catty. But she’s a regular chick and she’s really low maintenance and cool and fun to be around. She just goes with the flow. I guess that comes with being extremely talented. I feel like a lot of people compensate for not being talented with being bitchy. But she’s really talented. She’s a very really down to earth, fun, cool, just regular chick.
Question: How do you feel about being the first African-American superhero?
Anthony Mackie: It’s funny you should ask that. It’s cool. When I was a kid, I really didn’t have a person I could look at, other than my dad, and be like, “Hey, I want to be that guy and fly through the window.” You couldn’t be like 7 years old and say, “Who do you want to be for Halloween?” “Shaft!”
So you know, it’s really exciting. When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, “Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.” Ttat’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that. There’s so many of these little people out here doing awful things for money in the world of being famous. And little girls see that. They should have the opposite spectrum of that to look up to.
You know, funny story: There’s this craft store called Michaels. Look, my sister knits, and she goes to Michaels. So my sister called me and she’s like, “Oh my god, I’m at Michael’s, picking up yarn. You have a poster at Michaels.” I’m like, what? She’s like, “There’s a poster, there’s a Falcon poster at Michaels. I’m like, “Holy s–-t!” She’s like, “I’m gonna come and pick you up, and we’re gonna see your poster in this store.” So she picks me up and we go to Michaels.
We go in, and I see the poster and I’m like, “Oh, this is….” She’s like, “I know, I know.” I said, “I’m gonna sign these posters.” I was like, “That would be amazing, you buy a poster and it’s like, actually signed by the Falcon.” Like, it would blow my mind. So I go to the front, I buy a Sharpie, I run back to the back of the store. And she’s like, “I’m gonna take a picture of you signing it.”
I’m in this store and I’m signing all the posters. The manager comes out, he’s like, “Hey, whatcha doing?” I was like, “Oh man, I’m signing these posters so when people buy ‘em, they’re signed.” He’s like, “Well, people are not gonna buy ‘em if they’re signed.” And I was like, “No, no, no, it’s cool. I’m pretty sure there won’t be a problem.” And he goes, “Yeah, but it is gonna be a problem, you’re messin’ up my inventory.” And I’m like, “No, my man, trust me. I mean, I’m the Falcon, that’s me!” And he goes, “Yeah, right. You’re gonna buy those posters.” I said, “What?” He’s like, “You’re gonna buy all those posters or I’m gonna call the police.”
He rolls up all the posters and goes to the front of the store. And I had to buy like 60 Falcon posters that I signed in Michaels. So that’s kinda how — I’m just enjoying it. Man, I mean, there’s so many bad things that happen to us as entertainers and actors, that I feel like, when something good happens, you should take full advantage of it.
Question: Tell us which Michaels it was!
Anthony Mackie: I’m doing a screening in New Orleans and the first invitation I sent out was to the manager of Michaels. I’m like, my sister’s getting free yarn. And you’re giving me my money back.
Question: The Falcon goes back to the ’60s. Which versions of the Falcon did you go back to for the character to draw on?
Anthony Mackie: I commend Marvel for putting The Falcon in this movie because The Falcon’s history is something very unique to the comic book world. Usually in comic books they’ll introduce a character, if it doesn’t hit they’ll just let him fall off into the sunset. But with the Falcon, Marvel made a unique choice to get him right. So he had about three or four different incarnations in the life of the comic book.
I tried to stay away from the source material because I felt what the writers gave me with this was the introduction to The Falcon. So I just took what I had in the script, and worked primarily on that. I felt like the military history he had, and the relationship he has with Steve in this movie, is much more important than who he was in the comic books. Because I felt like if that relationship was grounded in truth and it worked, the rest of the movie would work.
I really just focused on what exactly are the side effects and repercussions of PTSD? How exactly do you overcome that? And when it’s overcome, is it like drugs, is it a work in progress everyday? Or is it like something, once you’re over it you’re over it and good? Or is it person-to-person stuff like that?
I just asked a bunch of different questions along those lines. A lot of my research came from soldiers I’ve met during Hurt Locker and from doing charitable work with the Navy and stuff. So I just emailed a bunch of guys and got a lot of stuff online, a lot of videos. Lot of depositions with soldiers coming back and just talking about their experiences and where they are now. I just used that stuff and tried to ground him in the history that was him, as opposed to the history that was the comic book.
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