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Anthony Mackie Talks Falcon, 8 Mile, and Female Directors

Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) gets ready for battle in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

(Marvel Entertainment)

Don’t mind me, I’m just crying over Anthony Mackie talking about Kathryn Bigelow, female directors, and what playing Sam Wilson means to him. In an interview with Vanity Fair that takes a look at Anthony Mackie’s career from his film debut in 8 Mile and beyond, it’s clear to see that Mackie is just happy to be doing what he loves for a living.

The actor, who attended Juilliard and has done many off-Broadway and Broadway shows, is a theatre man at heart, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love the world of cinema. In the interview, he says that he wanted two things when he started acting: to be in a western and to be a superhero. While he’s Captain America now, he’s still working on that western bit.

One of the best parts of the interview is when Mackie starts to talk about The Hurt Locker. A huge film for many reasons, The Hurt Locker is the one and only movie directed by a woman to take home the Best Director award at the Academy Awards. What’s interesting is how Mackie talks about his approach to his character and working with Kathryn Bigelow.

A lot of the time, you don’t get to really work through your character, but the way Mackie says it, it seems as if Kathryn was ready and willing to build his character with him. Saying, “War has no race, war has no face, war has no name, war has no sex. War has death,” Mackie and Bigelow clearly wanted to show this story of death in war and not be beholden to telling a story with just white protagonists.

“I had known Kathryn’s work for a long time. I loved her movies, I loved her style,  I loved everything about her career that I had experienced so I wanted to be a part of that. And I tend to work better with female directors, it’s just a great experience for my every time,” Mackie went on to say. I’m here for Mackie continuing to work with female directors, and maybe that’ll extend into the next big Marvel movie that Mackie is a part of.

Part of the interview that really got me is when Mackie talks about how Marvel is an opportunity to share these moments with our kids. Now, as a single woman without children, I understand his sentiment because I talk about these heroes with my young niece. It’s important to remember that while we love these heroes and these stories, they’re also universal and meant to be shared with those we love. He shared a story about his own son realizing how cool it is that his father is Captain America, and the two got to talk about how proud they are of each other.

“It’s funny as a parent, you do so much and all you want is the approval of your kids. Like, nobody else matters. Like I don’t care what anybody else on the internet says. My son said it was cool, so it’s cool.”

But to be honest, that’s why I like Anthony Mackie so much. He’s a guy who is the first to joke and kid around on set. “Cut the check” comes to mind more often than not, but he’s also a man who will talk about crying with his kids and the importance of what he’s doing. He’s not afraid to support female directors, and he doesn’t hide behind some tough-guy façade, and that’s why it’s so exciting that he’s our new Captain America.

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.