Anthony Mackie was thrilled to land the role of the Falcon in the upcoming film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” and recently opened up about why this particular role means so much to him.
Mackie admitted that he spent quite some time sending letter after letter to Marvel, hoping for a chance to play a super villain in one of their movies.
It wasn’t until Marvel responded with a letter telling him, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” that the actor was forced to just sit and wait for his chance.
Two years later, his chance finally came in the form of a high-flying super sidekick named the Falcon.
“When I heard I got the role I broke down in tears,” Mackie said in a recent interview. “I realized two years from that date some little brown boy was going to be at my door in a Falcon costume on Halloween. When I was a kid I didn’t have that.”
The Falcon is one of the first African-American superheroes to ever be featured in a mainstream comic.
The role came as a surprise considering that Mackie was expecting to play a villain rather than one of the good guys.
“I wanted to be like the Joker and get my Heath Ledger on,” he added. “I would send Marvel an email, like every four to five months. I was calling saying, ‘I’ll work for free.’ ”
About six months before filming was scheduled to begin, Mackie got the call he had been waiting for.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo offered him the job and Mackie could only describe that moment as “epic.”
According to executive producer Nate Moore, Mackie’s roles in “Half Nelson” and “The Hurt Locker” made him a shoo-in for the part.
“Both his roles in ‘Half Nelson’ and ‘The Hurt Locker’ showed him to be an actor of real weight,” Moore said. “When we were looking to cast the role of Sam Wilson, we knew we wanted an actor who would feel like an equal to Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). We’d kicked some names back and forth, but none of the names ever rose above the first we discussed – Anthony Mackie.”
After he finally met Mackie in person, Moore said he was sold.
“He charmed us,” he said.
Mackie has been able to land major movie roles rather consistently, and he hopes that he and other veteran actors will be able to continue to pave the way for other minority actors.
“I think as we support more our opportunities grow,” he said. “Look at the cover of Vanity Fair. Look at the Oscars. Michael B. Jordan is treading those waters easily right now. I think a lot of that has to do with the actors who came before him and busted their heads against the wall, over and over again.”
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” hits theaters April 4 and has already crossed the $100 million mark, thanks to advance ticket sales.