Anthony Mackie is ready to step into the Marvel spotlight.
With his Disney+ series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” nearing its premiere, the actor is on the cover of the new Variety to talk all about his superhero journey.
“I was really surprised and affected by the idea of possibly getting the shield and becoming Captain America,” he says of his emotional “Avengers: Endgame” moment with co-star Chris Evans. “I’ve been in this business a long time, and I did it the way they said you’re supposed to do it. I didn’t go to L.A. and say, ‘Make me famous.’ I went to theatre school, did Off-Broadway, did indie movies, and worked my way through the ranks. It took a long time for this s**t to manifest itself the way it has, and I’m extremely happy about that.”
Despite his time in the Marvel movies, though, Mackie was a bit scared of stepping into the lead for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”.
“I didn’t think we could do on the television what we’d been doing on the big screen. I didn’t want to be the face of the first Marvel franchise to fail,” he explains. “Like, ‘See? We cast the Black dude, and now this s**t is awful.’ That was a huge fear of mine, and also a huge responsibility with playing a Marvel character.”
Talking about working with the late Chadwick Boseman, the actor says, “For Chad and I, [representation] was never a conversation that needed to be had because of our backgrounds. There was a hinted-at understanding between the two of us, because we’re both from humble beginnings in the South; we have very similar backgrounds. We knew what the game was. We knew going into it.”
Despite his action cred, what Mackie would really love to do is star in a good old-fashioned romantic comedy.
“My team gets mad at me for saying this, but I would love to do a cheesy old-school ‘When Harry Met Sally’-type of project,” he says. “One of those movies where I’m working outside and have to take my shirt off because it’s too hot. I want a romantic comedy. I want to do every movie written for Matthew McConaughey that he passed on.”
Mackie also opens up about the tragic death of his mother when he was only 15 years old.
“It was unexpected and very untimely. I was 15 when she was diagnosed with cancer, and a few months later, she was gone,” he recalls. “She passed the day before my ninth-grade graduation. If my mom wouldn’t have passed away when I was so young, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“Everything I did, I did for my mama. The idea of leaving home at 17 to go away to school would have never been an option if she was still around. She was my best friend. Losing her gave me a kind of strength, and a desire to succeed.”