When a movie kills it on opening weekend with an April record breaking $96 million, as Captain America: The Winter Soldier just did, everyone gets a little curious as to who’s the new guy? Well here’s your chance to learn more about the guy that plays Falcon, played by the hilarious large ball of energy Anthony Mackie, this interview had me and all my fellow lucky bloggers laughing and quickly becoming a fan to the latest Marvel character introduction.
Being the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics, Falcon now comes to the big screen for the first time! A thrilling time for Anthony Mackie, no doubt, but also for Marvel in general. With Mackie’s high energy and perfect comic timing, he plays well with Captain America (Chris Evans) and helped make this movie my favorite Marvel one yet. Here’s a bit of the interview Mackie gave, and you’re welcome for the laughs today!
Falcon played by Anthony Mackie Interview
Obvious question but how is it being the new Marvel superhero?
AM: It’s hard to explain. You try to find those moments where you can stop and go, you know, have the frozen in the air pose, yay, jump. And this was one of those moments.
Suddenly, there is someone, not part of our group, helping themselves to some water in the back of the room. It distracts Mackie –
Oh god, it’s like somebody’s pissing over there. Am I the only — I know it’s a Disney movie but, there’s a dude pissin’ in the carpet. Lauging — Sorry, mommy bloggers. This is like daddy truck driver blogger talk.
Then back to the question –
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. (Laughing) 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.
Q: When you found out you got the role, do you talk with somebody like Hugh Jackman that you’ve worked with, who’s been in a Marvel film? Did you ask for any pointers?
AM: No. I did not want to mess up my experience. I completely wanted to come into this naïve, ignorant and like my virginal eyes not knowing anything. It’s funny ’cause Sam has done like 15 Marvel movies. And Chris and Scarlett have done like 6 each. And you know, Sebastian 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. You know, we’re in California. We basically shut down the city of Cleveland. So everywhere we went, people were like, [WHISPERING]. It’s like, wow, I know how Denzel feels, you know. So 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. (Laughing) And then the next day, you know, we started making fun of each other. It continued the next week, then the next month. And then it just turned into this thing, where it became infectious. You know, and everybody can have fun! 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, “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 workin’ 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 once we got over our suits, we had a good time.
Q: Tell us about the costume.
AM: It was no fun. The hardest working actors in Hollywood are flying superheroes. I said it, I don’t care what Thor says with his hammer. If you fly, it sucks. And, you know, it’s just the simple stuff. I loved my costume, I loved everything about it. I love doing stunts. I have the best stuntman in the business. We’ve done like five movies together. And literally it’s like that Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny cartoon, where like the missile is coming and Bugs Bunny’s like paused — then puts Daffy in. And he just takes the brunt of every hit for me. And I love it. (Laughing) My first day on set, like there’s nothing natural about flying, to humans. Like, there’s nothing we do that’s like flying. So my first day on set I walk in, I’m like, “What’s up, yo. Falcon in the building, what’s up?” Right. And I get up on like a 60 foot platform. And I’m like, all right, let’s do this. You know, brother in the building. And they said, “All right, stand on the edge of the platform, there’s a jet coming at you. We want you to stand up, turn around, shoot your guns and jump back backwards head first, into this mat.” From 60 feet in the air. And I’m like, Ohhhhhhh! Whoa! The first day is usually like walking down a hallway, or like eating or something. You know, just to break you in. Not jumping off the platform to your death. So you know, once we did that, in a scolding heat of the day, I kinda knew what I was in for. It just got worse from there. It was really painful and exhausting. But Aaron Toney, my stuntman, literally fell out of a car at 40 miles an hour. He got messed up on this movie. So kudos to him.
Q: What did you do to train and prepare for this film?
AM: Salmon, chickens, tunafish, asparagus. And a cup of brown rice at noon. Every day. For three months. In in high school when we play high school football we used to do these things called 2 a days. And basically six a.m. you wake up and you get ready, go to the gym for a hour. And you do cardio, just like Jane Fonda sh!t. And then you come home, and you just rest and eat every three hours. Knowing at 7 p.m. you go to the gym, and literally lift whatever you can find. For about a hour and a half. And then you go home and go to sleep. And then you wake up and do it again. For three months. Fitness is a lifestyle, you have to eat a certain way. You have to do a certain thing, you have to live a certain way. So you know, me and my homeboy Jack Daniels stopped talkin’. You know, no more pizza, like all the things I love. Me and my girlfriend Haagen Dazs broke up. She French, it was crazy. I just had to contain myself. And then I show up and you know, Chris looks like a Greek god. And I’m feeling good about myself, I’m like Spandex ready, you know. And I show up and he’s like, Captain, you know, tiny ass. And I’m like, “Dude, how’d you get your ass that small?” Like (using his hands to show a small little circle), it’s that big. You know. And I’m like, man size. And I look at his butt and I’m like, “What did you do, what did you do to it?” You know. And I put my costume on, everybody was like, “Damn, we got to let out the air.”
Q: Tell us about the first time that you put the costume on.
AM: It was great! The first time I put that costume on. I mean literally I couldn’t stop smiling, I was running around the room. It’s one of those moments where you know, you just have to allow yourself to enjoy it. At a certain point in time you just have to (enjoy the moment). It’s like the first time I met Prince. Like I was like, he’s Pri– no no no. I’m cool. Uh, uhhhhhhhhh. You know, you just have to allow yourself to be in the moment and enjoy it. And to put on my costume, it took 45 minutes to get in it. It was like five minutes to get out it.
Q: I suppose there was lots of guy talk. What was it like to work with Scarlett Johansson?
And catching me off guard, Anthony Mackie compliments me –
AM: You have great hair, I love your haircut.
I reply, blushing I’m sure, “Oh thank you.”
AM: Go ahead, what?
I then ask about working with Scarlett Johansson again.
AM: It was fun. Scarlett is just a regular chick. Like it’s weird, you expect her to be a diva or high maintenance or catty or need this. 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. So I feel like a lot of people compensate for not being talented with being bitchy. But she’s really talented. So she’s just like, “ Scarlett Johansson, let’s make it happen”. Everybody’s like, “Oh, you’re Scarlett Johansson.” She’s a very really down to earth, fun, cool, just regular chick.
Q: How do you feel about being the first African-American superhero?
AM: It’s funny you should ask that. It’s cool. I feel like when I was a kid, I really didn’t have that, you know, 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 seven years old and say, “Who do you want to be for Halloween?” “Shaft,” you know? So (Laughing) it’s really exciting. It’s the biggest thing for me, and it always makes me emotional. I mean, 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.” You know, and that’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino super hero, there should be. And I feel like 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 what, I’m just trying to go with the flow with it.
OK, so a funny story. There’s this craft store called Michael’s. Look, my sister knits. So she goes to Michael’s every now and then I’ll go there for something. So my sister called me and she’s like, “Oh my god, I’m at Michael’s, picking up yarn and you have a poster at Michael’s.” I’m like, what? She’s like, “There’s a poster, there’s a Falcon poster at Michael’s.” I’m like, holy shit. She’s like, “I’m gonna come and pick you up, and we’re gonna see your poster in this store.” So I’m like, “Man, this is my oldest sister,” all right. So she picks me up. We get in the car, we go to Michael’s, we hurry up. We get to Michael’s. 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.” So, 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, (he’s showing us as if he’s holding the poster up to his face and pointing back and forth from the Falcon image and his face) I mean, I’m the — that, 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.” So what the f*&!? I’m trying to get the posters for people to buy, and trust me, and He’s like, “Let’s go to the front, you’re buying the posters.” 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 my Michael’s. So you all are proud recipients of the signed Falcon posters from Michael’s!
He’s laughing, we all are laughing and clapping!
So that’s kinda how — I’m just enjoying it. Man, I mean, there’s so many bad things that happen to us at entertainers and actors, that I feel like, when something good happen, you should take full advantage of it.
Q: Tell us, which Michael’s?
AM: (Laughing) No, I’m gonna go back. I mean, I’m doing a screening in New Orleans and the first invitation I sent out was to the manager of Michael’s. I’m like, my sister getting free yarn. And, and you giving me my money back. (Laughing)
Q: The Falcon goes back to the ‘60s. Which versions of the Falcon did you go back to for the character to draw on?
AM: The reason I commend Marvel for putting the Falcon in this movie is, 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 ‘em 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. So if you read like in the ‘60s, (Laughing) he was a drug dealer hustler from Harlem, that moved to California and became a pimp. You know, keepin’ it real. And (Laughing) flew to Brazil to pick up some drugs. Crashed and was drug into a lab and made the Falcon. Then, (Laughing) the second incarnation, then the third incarnation where he became a military technician and a military expert. And then the Falcon that we know now. So as African-American culture evolved in America, so did the Falcon. And that’s very unusual, not only for the Falcon but for anybody or any character in any movie or anything. So I tried to stay away from the source material because I felt like what the writers gave me with this was the introduction of the Falcon. So whatever I give you, that’s who he is. For all the time in all the Marvel movies. 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. So I really just focused on, you know, that, you know, 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 I’m good. Or is it person to person stuff like that? I just asked a bunch of different questions along those lines. So a lot of my research came from soldiers I’ve met during HURT LOCKER. And doing like 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. A lot of depositions with soldiers coming back and just talking about their experiences and where they are now. Just used that stuff and just tried to ground him in the history that was him, as opposed to the history that was the comic book.