Actor Anthony Mackie says he decided to approach Marvel Studios for a role in its superhero films after he was snubbed of an Oscar nomination for The Hurt Locker.
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the 2008 war drama was a major critical success for the 40-year-old actor, who prior to that played small roles in films such as Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, Half Nelson and Eagle Eye.
But despite the critical acclaim for his performance, Mackie was passed over for an Academy Award nomination, while the film eventually won six awards out of the nine nods it received.
“I put everything in that movie. That little f***er matters. We try to protect ourselves and say, ‘I’m doing the work for the work.’ But when that happened with ‘Hurt Locker’, it hurt. I had to take a year off of work,” the actor told Men’s Health in an interview.
After the year break, which he called was “very therapeutic”, Mackie decided to approach Marvel Studios.
“My line was ‘Yo, I’m the black dude from ‘The Hurt Locker’. I would love to work with you guys’,” the actor recalled.
At first, Mackie auditioned for the role of Mandarin in “Iron Man 3”, a part which went to Ben Kingsley but his screen test impressed director Joe Russo and producer Nate Moore, who were looking for an actor to play Sam Wilson aka Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
“He has charisma, but he also has the ability to convey integrity in a way that very few actors can. And there’s a level of trust between him and the audience,” Russo told the outlet.
Mackie said he loved the character since his childhood, particularly because he did not have ‘Black’ title before him.
“Growing up, I’d always loved Falcon, because he was a comic-book hero who was black who didn’t have ‘Black’ in the title. He stood on his morals. He stood on who he was,” he said.
Mackie has since played the part in a total of six MCU films. He is set to reprise the role in the upcoming Disney+ series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”.