Set Visit: Anthony Mackie brings laughs and high-flying action to ‘Captain America’

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”

His brother was understandably thrilled at the idea of Mackie playing Falcon. “When I was a kid I destroyed all of his comic books,” Mackie admitted, “so he was happy to think that I'd be able to re-buy his comic books for 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. 

“If you look at Falcon now, he's really a military, tactical-driven force,” Mackie explained. “He works with Cap not so much out of self-preservation, but more so out of respect and honor. They're both military guys and they both share a common bond within the military. He's just a standup guy that can fight really well.”

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.”

Go to page 2 to read about Mackie joining Marvel and the possibility of appearing in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”


“In this movie, [I'm] not so much Falcon, more so Sam Wilson,” Mackie revealed. “Because of the way it's written in the comic book and him having so many incarnations, they've kind used this movie to establish this character and my relationship with Black Widow, Captain and Nick Fury. It's more that I learn as I go, so hopefully in part 3 or 'Avengers 2,' you'll be able to see my character really become the three-dimensional part of the Avengers group…note to Marvel.”

“It's really come across to me as 'The Avengers 1.5,'” he said of “Winter Soldier.” “What they've been able to do with the script — as well as with the Russo Brothers directing it — is to ground the movie in a really humane, 3-dimensional reality. So, you have characters like me, like Frank Grillo and Robert Redford's character that we, as normal people, can relate to.”
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?”

“I've been very surprised and kind of put-off by the 'secrets,'” Mackie continued. “You never really know what's going on in the next movie, you never really know what you're doing in this movie, you can't really talk about what you're doing, you have to wear a cloak when you go outside in your costume. Stuff like that that I've never been privy to that makes it strange in a lot of ways.” 
“But at the same time, Marvel has become a well-oiled machine,” Mackie added. “I feel like the reason [the films] work so well is because they've always presented quality projects in a not-so-always quality genre. I feel like all of the Marvel movies work; the characters are grounded and three-dimensional; the CGI and the graphics always look really cool; it always works. They always invest the money where it needs to be.” 
“A lot of the movies that Marvel does not do [are] hard to get into, because it's just a bunch of superheroes running around doing superhero shit,” Mackie complained. “But I feel like with this movie you can identify with those characters, so it pulls you into the movie.”
“It's a huge honor to be part of the group of people they've put together. They don't go for great-looking people who could be superheroes, they go for great actors who can make superheroes come to life”

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.