Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in the U.S. on April 4, 2014. This week we got to see a screening and attend a press conference with the actors, directors and producer. As the movie approaches, you'll see more coverage from this event. To start things off, here's our one-on-one interview with the incredible Anthony Mackie, who plays Sam Willson--the Falcon.
Mackie's appearance in the movie opens up the Cinematic Universe a little more and there's a great rapport between Mackie and Chris Evans. He's definitely a character we'll want to see more of. Check out what he had to say.
COMIC VINE: What’s it like being a superhero now?
ANTHONY MACKIE: Oh it’s great. It’s everything I thought it would be. Marvel can get people like Robert Redford and Samuel L. Jackson because they treat people in a good way. It’s fun. They make it exciting. It takes the pressure off of you, as an actor, when you know that the studio will only put out a quality project. So you can just go and have fun and shoot the shit, laugh and giggle, and go home. You know that whatever you do is going to be the best that you’ll be able to do. It’s great, man. I have no hang ups on anything about this movie or this experience.
CV: You’ve worked with Chris Evans, Don Cheadle, Sam Jackson, and Jeremy Renner before. Did any of them give you any superhero advice before filming?
AM: [laughs] No, I wanted to come into this, literally, bushy-tailed and wide-eyed. I didn’t ask anyone with experience. I didn’t ask anybody what I should be doing. I wanted it to be, truly, my experience. I feel like I’m a kid that won the lottery. I feel like this is my first job, my first experience. No matter what it is, I wanted the ability to experience it for myself. I literally just came in and the only thing I said I was going to do was make sure I had fun everyday. I wanted to be able to look back at this and say, “I was a superhero and it was a fuckin’ good time. And it has been.
CV: How much of your own stunts were you allowed to do?
AM: You know what, I started out saying I wanted to do all my own stunts because Tom Cruise does all his own stunts. I did one stunt and I was like, forget that! [laughs] I was like, that’s why they have stuntmen. I have this guy, Aaron Tony, that I’ve worked with on like five movies. He’s the best stuntman in the world. I was like, he looks just like me. So why isn’t he doing my stunts? So every time, I would just tap him in and let him go, run into walls and do everything he wanted to do.
CV: Did you go back and read old comics with Falcon or did you want to give the character your own spin?
AM: I didn’t. I read a few of them, just to get a feel of what the idea was we were going for with the character. The problem with this is, you know the Falcon has been reintroduced like three or four different times in the comic books. He’s had many different lives and incarnations, as to who he was and who he was going to be to the Marvel Universe. I looked at this as his fourth installment, his fourth introduction. I just let it be what it was. I took what Joss gave us in the script and used that as my source material. I used that as my comic book and just built on top of that. I felt like no matter how many other comic books I read, the one thing that was going to make the Falcon work, was people buying into him believing his relationship with Captain America. If that didn’t sell, the movie wouldn’t sell. I just specifically worked on that and tried as hard as I could and did as much research I could on the military, soldiers, soldiers coming home from combat, and the counseling for soldiers coming home from war. I wanted to use that to basically to try to develop a three-dimensional character.
CV: Are you ready for people on the street to start calling you Sam or Falcon?
AM: [laughs] It’s…I am. I’m damn sure ready for people to stop calling me “Papa Doc.” So if we go from Papa Doc to the Falcon, or Sam, I’m with that. 100%. [laughs]
CV: What do you love best about the character?
AM: His ability to fly. I feel like what the Russos did with the Falcon is so amazing because he’s unlike any other superhero in any other movie. The way he flies, his ability to fly, the action while he’s flying is just so cool and so different. When I first saw the wings on the screen, I literally jumped up and screamed. I couldn’t contain myself. I was just so turned on and excited.
CV: You’re not afraid of heights, are you?
AM: No, I’m a certified…this is the problem with heights. I’m a certified skydiver. I have like twenty-five jumps under my belt. The problem is this, when your jumping [feet first] and there’s the ground, that’s one thing. But when your jumping [head first] and the ground is coming at your face, it’s a whole different ballgame. That’s when fear comes into play.
CV: Was the harness like you had to wear during filming?
AM: Painful. It was a corset. [laughs] It was a corset with thigh corsets. It basically gave them the ability to hook four strings to me. Two on my shoulders and two on my legs, so if they wanted to turn me, they could and swing me. So all that stuff you see in the movie, with me maneuvering around the bullets and stuff, they were able to do that because of this new harness they put together and strapped into. But, at the same time, there’s nothing about the human body that is okay with flying. It’s just not a traditional human movement. So it was painful as shit. Just the worst experience of my life. [laughs]
CV: If you had your way, what other character would you want Falcon to team up with?
AM: I feel like me and Iron Man flying around would be pretty cool. That would be funny. I would also say the Incredible Hulk. I love the Hulk. I love Ruffalo as the Hulk. I feel like he’s the perfect Hulk. Those are my two. But I think my relationship with Cap fits best because Sam Wilson is a regular everyday guy. Cap is a regular everyday guy and they have regular everyday guy problems. I think it works really well together.
CV: What was your favorite scene?
AM: I think my favorite scene is probably the scene with Chris and I running across the containers and I ask him how do we know the good guys from the bad guys. He says, “The bad guys will shoot at you.” Then I take off and fly away. It’s sort of an inside joke. That was probably the most uncomfortable and awkward moment of my adult life when we were shooting it. What they had me doing was just laying and being stupid. Everybody would laugh at me every time I did it. Watching it in the movie and it looked so cool, it just makes me remember how stupid I looked when I did it. [laughs]
CV: Could we possibly see you and Jeremy Renner on screen together again?
AM: I hope so, man. Jeremy and I…I had a great time working with Jeremy. He’s a damn good actor and someone I consider to be a damn good friend. We’ve been looking for projects to do together, we’ve been looking for opportunities to work together. I feel like everybody wants it, everybody asks about it. Sooner or later, it’s bound to happen.
CV: I was talking more Falcon and Hawkeye…
AM: [laughs] I don’t know about that!
CV: Stay tuned!
AM: I don’t know about that. That’s ‘to be continued.’ They haven’t told me. It [Avengers: Age of Ultron] starts in three weeks. No one has told me if I’m going to be in it so I’m guessing that means I’m not in it. But, I’m hoping. I mean, look, I told Kevin [Feige], I cleared my schedule for the summer. So if you need me in London, I can be there in 24 hours. I’m just waiting. [laughs]
And be sure to stay tuned for more coverage on Captain America: The Winter Soldier!