Disclosure: Disney provided me an all expense paid trip to Los Angeles to help promote Muppets Most Wanted, Captain America and other projects. All experiences and opinions are my own. Yours may differ.
Sitting in a beautiful room on the 8th floor of The Beverly Hilton we were a little prepared for the fun interview that would soon begin with Anthony Mackie by his co-star and friend Chris Evans who had hinted to how great and how funny he was. When he walked in the jokes and laughs immediately began and lasted the whole time we were with him.
I loved interviewing Anthony, who plays the Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, because he was such a funny, real guy. He had so many stories and so many jokes. It was so much fun to hear about the movie from his perspective. I also love that he KNEW his character. He knew the all the different kinds of backgrounds that had been written about the Falcon. He studied them and decided how to go about portraying the Falcon. He knew comic books and it really showed in his answers and by how well he nailed the part. Be sure to read the questions because he address this topic in the interview.
There were several questions and stories that aren’t really appropriate for my family blog so I’m going to pick and choose the most interesting questions from the interview to share with you. I also want to share that since I had a voice recorder whenever someone would walk into the room to be interviewed I would say there name into the recorder to keep everything straight. When Anthony Mackie walked in I said “Anthony Mackie, he is so good looking.” You know- because I really wanted to remember that moment! 😉
Q: How was it playing Falcon?
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. And, uh, then Morgan Freeman took my role in UNFORGIVEN.[laughs] When I got this call, I kinda put things in perspective. You know, I, uh, I feel like a lot of people are famous for different reasons. Uh, 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. So it was like one of those posed — you know.
Someone asked if, when he found out he got the role of Falcon, he called any of the experienced Marvel superheroes for pointers. We got a resounding NO!
No. I, 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. So when I, uh, showed up — you know, it’s, 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, a good time, we’re doing a Marvel movie, we get the best craft services. You know, we’re in California. You know, they — we basically shut down the city of Cleveland. So everywhere we went, people were like, [WHISPERING] “that’s the Marvel guy’s.” You know, so it’s like, wow, I know how Denzel feels, you know. So I was — I was soakin’ it up. You know, I was, I was really, I —
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 dude we’re 35-year-old men in costume. We’re losers. And then the next day, you know, we started making fun of each other. Done it next week, done the next month. And then it just turned into this thing, where it became infectious. You know, and everybody 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, you know, daddy issues that mess up movies. You know, 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! You know, so it feels, I feel like this, you know, 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 you know, once we got over our suits, we had a good time.
Q: How was the costume? Was it wirework?
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. I don’t care what Wolverine — I don’t — if you fly, it sucks. And, uh, you know, it’s just the simple stuff. We had a 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 Daffy’s — Bugs Bunny’s like paused — puts Daffy in. And he just takes every — the brunt of every hit for me. And I love it. And there was a — my first day on set, — like there’s nothing natural about flying, to humans. Like, there’s nothing we do that’s like flying. You know, 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 uh, so 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 the scoldering heat of the day, uh, I kinda knew what I was in for. Uh, and it just got worse from there. It was, it was really painful and exhausting. But, uh, but Aaron Toney, my stuntman, literally, I mean, he fell out of a car at 40 miles an hour. He, he got messed up on this movie. So kudos to him.
Q: What did you do to train and prepare for this film?
Uh, salmon, chickens, tunafish, asparagus. And a cup of brown rice at noon. Every day. Uh, for three months. I did in high school — high school football? High school, I’m like — I ain’t a sexist, come on. Yeah. They, uh, when we play — 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, you know, get ready, go to the gym for a hour. And you do cardio, just like Jane Fonda. 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 that — whatever you can find, you lift it. 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. And it was by far the most — I mean, it’s a lifestyle. You know, uh, 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’. Uh, you know, no more, uh, pizza, like all the things I love. Me and my girlfriend Haagen Dazs broke up. She French, it was crazy. So we, uh, you know, I just, I 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 [bum]. And I’m like, “Dude, how’d you get your [bum] that small?” Like, it’s that big. You know. And I’m like, man size. Like, errrrrrrrrrrrrrr I can lift the whole building. And I look at his little– and I’m like, “What did you do, what did you do to it?” You know. And I, I put my costume on, everybody was like, “Dang, we got to let out the air.” So then aghhhhhhhh! Uhhhhhhh. But I made it through it. I got together with my girlfriend Haggan Dyeesa. Uh, so yes, so yeah, it was a grueling three months.
Q: How did you feel the first time you stepped into the Falcon costume?
Uh, it was great, it was, uh, the first time I put that costume on, I mean literally I couldn’t stop smiling, I was running around the room. It was — you know, it’s, it’s like I said, 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 — it’s like the first time I met Prince. Like I was like, he’s Pri– no no no. I’m cool. You know, you just have to allow yourself to be in the moment and enjoy it. And, uh, you know, it was my costume was a — it was 45 minutes to get in it. It was like five minutes to get out it. ‘Cause you know, I was like, ohh. But it was fun, I really took every moment to enjoy being a super hero. So yeah, it was, it was a good time.
Q: How do you feel about being the first African-American superhero?
Uh, you know, it’s, it’s funny you should ask that. Uh, it’s, it’s cool. I feel like, you know, when I was a kid, I really didn’t have that, you know, 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 know, you couldn’t be like seven years old and say, “Who do you want to be for Halloween?” “Shaft,” you know. So you know, it’s really exciting. Uh, looking at — the biggest thing — 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. It’s always, so I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino super hero, there should be, you know, 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. They ne– 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.
Funny story alert! He shared this super funny story, read on!
You know, like funny story. This is, there’s this craft store called Michael’s. I don’t know where y’all came — No, no, no. Look, my sister knits. So she goes to Michael’s. Uh, and every now and then I’ll go there for something. So I went — my sister called me and she’s like, “Oh my gosh, I’m at Michael’s, picking up yarn.” And, uh, “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 –. She 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. [Car driving and braking noises] 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 mean, we’re — 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, 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.” I’m trying to get the posters for people to buy, and trust me, it’s goin’ — 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! So that’s kinda how — I’m just enjoying it. Man, I mean, there’s so many, you know, 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: The Falcon goes back to the ‘60s. Which versions of the Falcon did you go back to for the character to draw on?
Uh, well, I stayed — you know, the Falcon is interesting because if you look at the Falcon, the reason I, I commend Marvel for putting the Falcon in this movie is, the Falcon’s history is something very unique, uh, to the, uh, comic book world. ‘Cause 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, uh, 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, he was a drug dealer in Harl– hustler from Harlem, that moved to California and became a pimp. You know, keepin’ it real. And flew to Brazil to pick up some drugs. Crashed and was drug into a lab and made the Falcon.
Then, you know, they’ll — the second incarnation, then the third incarnation where he became a military technician and, you know, 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 a very, you know, it’s 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, uh, 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, 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, uh, soldiers I’ve met during HURT LOCKER. And, uh, doing like, you know, 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, uh, depositions. Uh, with soldiers coming back and just talking about their experiences and where they are now. Uh, and 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.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in theaters NOW!