In a recent interview with Variety, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie revealed that it was difficult to play Captain America because he first had to overcome his fear of representing a country that, he believes, does not represent him.
“I’ve worked so long in this business and I’ve done so many things that I felt were not appreciated, or overlooked or things that were not considered to be worthy of promotion — and this is like my first promotion,” Mackie told Variety. “The idea of being Captain America was something that I never fathom, or because it was so so so far fetched. I wanted to be in comic book movies so I could be the guy in ‘Spider-Man’ that goes, ‘It’s Spider Man!’.
“That was as far as my ambition could take me in that universe,” the actor added.
Mackie then explained his belief that playing Captain America was not as easy as one would’ve imagined, especially for a black actor like himself.
“The fear of representing a country who doesn’t represent you, you know, was something that’s not only unfathomable, but hard to overcome,” the Avengers star continued, drawing some comparisons between his experience and those of his character, Sam Wilson.
He further reminisced, “My dad always used to say greatness is as far as you can see it… There are limitations that we place on ourselves because of our surroundings. And, you know, I did that to myself, and that’s definitely what Sam Wilson goes through.”
Mackie also shared that he felt like the whole process was a humbling experience, mentioning that being given the chance to play Captain America was a “bucket list” moment which finally made one of his dreams a reality.
“Having if not one of my bucket lists, the bucket list moment happen, is not so much about becoming Captain America — it’s about having my dreams realized,” Mackie explained. “It’s very humbling when, you know, you get the opportunity that you’ve always dreamed of.”
What is interesting here is that Mackie is suggesting that he went through the same process as his character, Sam Wilson, went through in the Marvel Cinematic Universe going from playing the Falcon to Captain America himself.
However, when Steve Rogers gave Sam his iconic Vibranium shield at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Mackie’s character hesitates for a moment and then tells Steve “I’ll do my best,” only to reject the shield throughout the majority of Disney+’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Mackie also asserts that America doesn’t represent him because of the colour of his skin – an experience he claims his character also had. Yet, in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Sam was never discouraged to become the Star Spangled Avenger because he was black. In fact, that wasn’t even the reason he gave as to why he didn’t want to be the new Captain America.
If anything, Mackie’s narrow-minded opinion on America more closely resembles that of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Isaiah Bradley, who on the show stated ,”They will never let a black man be Captain America. And even if they did, no self-respecting black man would ever want to be,” than Sam Wilson’s.
It appears that Mackie views his being given the chance to play Captain America as the “first promotion” he’s received since he’s began working in the film industry, a sentiment which is quite rich when considering that Mackie has been making it big in Hollywood since he starred alongside Eminem in the critically praised 8 Mile (2002), his first ever movie, when he was in his early 20s.
Furthermore, before playing Captain America in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Mackie had already participated in two previous Captain America movies, had a small cameo in Avengers: Age of Ultron, a glorified cameo in Ant-Man, and a role as a member of the Avengers ensemble in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame; some of the highest-grossing films in history.
Sounds like Mackie’s been getting promotions far longer than he chooses to give himself credit for. Maybe America does represent him after all, since his experience is basically what the “American dream” is all about.
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