Anthony Mackie Explains How Acting in Theatre Helped Him Prepare for ‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Role

Anthony Mackie recently reprised his role as Falcon in Marvel’s newest Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. He’s been playing the role for the last seven years, having first appeared as Sam Wilson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014. 

It’s safe to assume that he’s used to playing the Falcon by now, having starred in five other Marvel films as the iconic character. For some, it might seem easy to play the same character for nearly 10 years, but to others, playing the same role for so long can seem like a huge challenge. 

Mackie himself has no problem with playing the same character in numerous projects, primarily because of his experience working in theatre. 

Anthony Mackie says working in theatre helped him prepare for his role as Falcon

Athony Mackie arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"
Anthony Mackie arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

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Prior to making it to the big screen, Mackie worked as a theatre actor for several years. He starred in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Mackie talked about how his impressive theatre background has helped him play the same character for so long. 

“Coming from a theatre background, I’ve found ways to make the characters I’ve played unique and fun every time I show up to play that character,” Mackie said. “So that’s not really a problem that I’ve ever had.”

Back when he was in the theatre it was common for him to do the same show several times a week, so he had no problem adjusting.

“Because, you know, you do a play, you’re doing eight shows a week for six, seven months, that’s a lot of the same lines in the same character,” Mackie said. 

He’s grateful he’s playing a character that people love

In the same interview, Mackie noted that he’s happy to be playing a character that so many people love. 

“But one thing I’ve come to appreciate is playing a character that’s loved and appreciated. ‘Cause as artists, as people who put your talent out in the ethos to be judged, so many people out there find joy in telling you how much you suck.” 

As an actor, it’s common for him to hear negative remarks from people about his performances and characters. He doesn’t have to worry about that as much when he’s playing Falcon. 

“It feels great to have a character that every time somebody sees you or acknowledges you or recognizes you, they do it from a point of appreciation instead of hatred or animosity,” Mackie said. “So I take it all with a grain of salt. I feel very privileged to be a part of the Marvel universe and to play a character like the Falcon,” Mackie said. “So I just—I roll with the punches and enjoy it all the time.” 

Anthony Mackie called ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ a ‘starting over point’

Mackie also expressed excitement about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier because it will allow people to get an entirely new set of Marvel characters. 

“I think what people will enjoy and really appreciate is the fact that with six hours you really get to know these characters,” Mackie said. “We get to get into their backstory, we get to know them as just unique individuals and how they fit into this new Marvel universe. Because this is basically a starting over point.”