There's a lot of surprisingly funny subtext in the upcoming “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” at least according to co-star Anthony Mackie.
As the Falcon, Mackie plays the fan-favorite winged superhero who teams with Cap (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to uncover an alarming political conspiracy involving S.H.I.E.L.D. and the titular Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
Watch the brand new, 4-minute clip above to see Cap and Black Widow n action, plus a glimpse of Falcon.
However, Mackie brought a whole new set of relationships to his role, as he explained to myself and a group of journalists who visited the Marvel sequel's set last year.
“When we first started this movie I thought, 'Oh no, Sam Jackson's in it. Sam Jackson has a goatee. Sam Jackson is gonna look like my dad,'” Mackie revealed with a chuckle. “So, every time we did a scene with Sam, after the scene I'd go 'dad'?” That's what I'm playing, and you'll see this in the movie. Every scene I have with Nick Fury, I'm playing it like he's my dad. I've watched it on the monitors, and it worked.”
Falcon's fictional relationship with Johansson went even further, as you can imagine.
“I put in this interesting subplot that Black Widow and I are in love with each other,” Mackie chuckled. “When you see the movie I hope you catch it. There are different scenes where I give it to her, a little chocolate love. I think I've seen her return it. I'm not sure. We've got two weeks left now, they can't cut it out. That's what I've been working on for the last three months.”
As for the leading man Evans, Mackie says, “he's someone I really consider to be a friend, outside of all of this. He's a very smart guy. He's a guy that understands rigging, camera work and directing, as well as acting. He knows how to talk about film in-depth. It's cool to see that your friend is good at something, and you didn't know that.”
Between jokes, on-set anecdotes and impressions of actual falcons, Mackie — jokingly self-decribed as “5'11' of pure chocolate” — discussed joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe and working with such an illustrious cast (which also includes screen legend Robert Redford).
Growing up with a brother who collected comics, Mackie “always knew about the Falcon and Black Panther. Primarily Falcon, just simply because he was an African-American superhero. My brother was really big on, like, being black,” he laughed. “So, I knew about him”
Mackie expounded on the roots of his character, whose real life identity is one Sam Wilson. “There was the first incarnation where he had 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,” he explained humorously. “OK… I want a bird and spandex, prostitutes and cocaine. That's the Marvel Universe.”
From those odd beginnings, the hero settled into a more typical role.
Through every incarnation, the Falcon's most prominent feature has been his wings. “I've seen as much of the wings as you have,” Mackie responded when asked. “Every now and then they bring up these 3 foot wings that I'm hoping will turn into 6 foot wings, but I'm not sure how that works. They're in a case on the set and every now and then they break them out and flap them. Literally, some dude stands there like this [he made an exaggerated flapping motion here]. I'm guessing they're gonna put them on me.”
Mackie's reluctance to get too in-depth about the film's plot is characteristic of Marvel's notorious need for secrecy.
“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,” he mused. “Our relationship kind of builds upon that. Is that vague enough for you?”
Once a part of the Marvel clan, characters are often brought back for future films. Mackie is naturally eyeing an appearance in 2015's “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
When asked about the possibility, Mackie beamed, “I hope that's so true. This is the best thing about Marvel as a whole: They tell you absolutely nothing. I didn't even know I was shooting today until today. They've figured out a way to keep their stuff very private and in-house.”
“I hope I'm in 'Avengers 2,'” he laughed. “If I'm in 'Avengers 2,' everyone will know it because I'm gonna run through Times Square butt-ass naked with 'Avengers 2' tattooed across my chest!”
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opens April 4.