Anthony Mackie Loves His Anonymity, for Now

The Gangster Squad star has stayed under the radar; playing a superhero in two new films may change that.

Anthony Mackie as Officer Harris in Gangster Squad (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)
Anthony Mackie as Officer Harris in Gangster Squad (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Anthony Mackie: I like where I am in this business right now, and whatever the business affords me, I’m going to take it in stride. There are a lot of drawbacks to celebrity. I have a lot of celebrity friends, and the way they choose to live their life dictates how big a celebrity they become, and it’s not the lifestyle I’m looking for. I grew up in the theater in New York, and you learn how to live on $425 a week. I don’t need much.

TR: What happened during the deleted Gangster Squad scene?

AM: It was very close to what happened in Colorado. We set up a sting on a guy, and he walks into a movie theater. We follow him and he comes from behind the screen, shooting at us. But not only is he shooting at us; he’s also mowing down people in the theater trying to get to us. As artists, we have a social responsibility to our audience, and it would’ve been a huge travesty to leave that scene in without being sympathetic to what people experienced in Colorado.

TR: As a cast member of director Kathryn Bigelow’s 2008 film, The Hurt Locker, what are your thoughts on her new film about capturing Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty?

AM: I think it was a travesty that she wasn’t nominated for best director by the Academy Awards. She took a story that we all knew and followed every day and made it compelling and interesting, while putting all of her actors in a place to give their best performances. If that’s not good directing, I don’t know what is. Her movie was definitely better than eight of the nine films nominated for best film.

TR: In the upcoming The Avengers 2 and Captain America sequel, you’ll play the Falcon. How are you preparing? One fan board said you’d have to bulk up and be sure to look exceptionally mean.

AM: That’s funny! That’s probably some fat dude in Connecticut saying, “You need to go to the gym!” I’ve actually become a gym rat again. But instead of getting bigger — because the Falcon was written as a man who was 6 foot 4 and 230 pounds; he was massive — mine is a different take on who he is, as opposed to being specific to the comic book, like all of the Marvel movies. You’ll definitely get your Falcon fix, and I will look amazing!

TR: Will we ever see you on a TV show like Scandal with your former Night Catches Us co-star Kerry Washington?