INTERVIEW: ANTHONY MACKIE, THE FALCON
Question: Were you familiar with this character before this opportunity arose?
Anthony Mackie: I was. My brother was one of those comic book guys that had a bunch of comic books. And I always knew about The Falcon and Black Panther, but primarily The Falcon just simply because he was an African-American superhero and my brother was really big on like being black.
Q: What was your brother's reaction to hearing you got this part?
Mackie: Oh, he was super excited. He loved the character and he loved comic books. When I was a kid, I destroyed all his comic books so he was happy to think that I would be able to rebuy his comic books for him.
Q: Why would you destroy his comics?
Mackie: Because I was a kid and he wouldn't let me in his room. So I went in his room and did some damage. I've been paying for it for the rest of my life.
Q: Did he give you some key insights into how he thought you should play this character?
Mackie: Nah. His big thing was The Falcon started off one way and then he became a character that was about dignity and respect and honor. So, play it more as a strong man, as opposed to a comic book character.
Q: What can you tell us about your wings?
Mackie: I have no idea. I've seen as much of the wings as you have. I'm very interested to see – every now and then they bring up these three-foot wings that I am hoping are gonna turn into like a six-foot wings, but I'm not sure how that works. So, they're in a case on set and every now and then they break them out and flap them. Literally, some dude stands there like this. So, I'm guessing they're gonna put 'em on me, but I have no idea.
Q: We've heard a lot about the tone of this movie and how it's different. As an outsider, how would you describe it?
Mackie: The great thing about this movie and the theme, it's really come across to me as like Avengers 1.5. Because if you look at the cast, I mean, we have Sam Jackson and Robert Redford. And what they've been able to do with the script, as well as with the Russo Brothers directing it, is ground the movie in a really humane three-dimensional reality. So, you have characters like me. You have characters like Frank Grillo and Robert Redford's character that we, as normal people, can relate to. I feel like a lot of superhero movies, it's hard to get in – a lot of the movies that Marvel does not do its hard to get into because it's just a bunch of superheroes running around doing superhero sh*t. But I feel like with this movie, you can look at certain characters and identify with those characters, so it pulls you into the movie. And the way it's written it's just a very grounded actual kind of realistic story. Just with a dude in a blue suit running around with a shield.
And a guy with wings. What's so funny is it's kind of in a theme, not so much Bourne, but like when you watch a Bourne movie that aspect of just intense action that you get as well as gritty dark story. That's kind of how the vein of this movie works and the stories told. But, you know, with me, what I love is The Falcon kind of lived in three different incarnations. There was the first incarnation where he had on a black and green suit, and he was a drug-dealing pimp from Harlem that crashed going down to Brazil to pick up drugs and became a superhero. Okay. And then there was…
Q: Wasn't that the one you wanted to play?
Mackie: That was the one. So when I heard they were using the latter one, I'm like, "Well, that's not what I signed up – I want a bird in spandex and prostitutes and cocaine." But, you know, that's the Marvel universe. But it changed and morphed in to, you know, the latter of the three characters, which I was really happy about. I feel like if you look at The Falcon now, he's really a military tactical driven force. I mean, he works with Cap not so much out of like self-preservation, but more so out of respect and honor. You know, because they're both military guys and they both share a common bond within the military. So he's just a standup guy that can fight really well.
Q: How do you guys sort of interact with one another? Particularly since there were a couple of jokes in Avengers about lack of…
Mackie: I think what the writers have been able to do is go around the time difference. And there's a whole scene geared towards us coming together as friends and Cap recognizing that and pulling me into his circle. For the two of us, it's more so our relationship is built out of camaraderie within the military. My character is very intrigued, like everyone else is in the movie, by the fact that Captain America is here and he's here to save the day, so what seems to be the problem. So our relationship kind of builds upon that. Is that vague enough for you?
Q: Let's try this. There's word that you're gonna be in Avengers 2. Can you confirm or deny?
Mackie: I hope that's so true. But this is the best thing about Marvel as a whole. They tell you absolutely nothing. I mean, I didn't even know I was shooting today until today. So it's like they just – they've figured out a way to keep their stuff very private and in house. I hope I'm in Avengers 2. If I'm in Avengers 2, everyone will know it 'cause I'm gonna run through Times Square butt ass naked with Avengers 2 tattooed across my chest. But I hope I am. I mean, I would love to be in Avengers 2. It's a huge honor to be a part of the group of people they've put together. Because Marvel – they don't go for like great looking people who could be superheroes, they go for good actors who can make superheroes come to life. So, to be a part of Avengers – and it made a bajillion dollars, you know. So, to be a part of Avengers would be really cool.
Q: Does your character have much interaction with Black Widow?
Mackie: Well, I've put in this interesting subplot that Black Widow and I are in love with each other. And it's working really well. So when you see the movie, I hope you catch it. Because there are different scenes where I give it to her, you know, a little chocolate love, like bow. And I think I've seen her return it, but I'm not sure. So, I've been working on that subplot. I think it's working out really well.
Q: Well, have you done what will maybe the most challenging sort of physical stunt that you'll have to do for the movie so far?
Mackie: Well, the first day we shot, they had me jumping backwards off of a 30-foot platform head first into the pavement. That was about it. And they're like, "Don't worry, we'll catch you before you hit the ground." I'm like, "All right." So this is my first day. I didn't have rehearsal. I didn't have stunt training. I didn't have anything. They're like, "No, no, no, just stand back – run, turn around at the edge of a platform and jump backwards and shoot your guns over your head while you're going back." So I doubt if we're using that footage. But that was definitely the hardest day I've had.
Q: How much of the origin story do we actually get to see, or are you The Falcon right from the…?
Mackie: In this movie, not so much Falcon, it's more so Sam Wilson. They've, you know, because of the way it's written in the comic book and him having so many incarnations, they kind of used this movie to establish my character and my relationship with Black Widow and, you know, Captain, and Sam Jackson's character, Nick Fury. So, it's more that I learn as I go. So, hopefully in part three, or Avengers 2, you'll be able to see my character really become the three-dimensional part of the Avengers group. Note to Marvel.