Since his 2002 big screen debut opposite Grammy Award winning rapper Eminem in '8 Mile,' Anthony Mackie has racked up quite an impressive list of film credits-- including last year's Oscar winner 'The Hurt Locker.' In less than ten years, the Julliard-trained actor has done nearly 25 films.
His latest is a sci-fi thriller 'The Adjustment Bureau,' in which he stars along side Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. Loosely based on a Philip K. Dick short story, Damon plays David Norris, a smooth-talking congressman whose political future is thrown in doubt by uncontrollable events and the arrival of a mysterious ballerina (Blount) in his life.
Mackie plays a member of the 'Adjustment Bureau,' an organization that tries to put David back in his line of fate. Check out the Premier of the new featurette for the film below!
The Universal Pictures release, set to hit theaters March 4 nationwide, is just another example of Mackie's selection of roles-- well crafted, big-league memorable fare-- that sets him apart from many others.
Having starred in last year's Academy Award winninhg Best Picture, 'The Hurt Locker,' and most recently in the independent film, 'Night Catches Us,' opposite Kerry Washington, the 32-year-old New Orleans native is on a trajectory similiar to some of today's leading actors.
Less well-received or reviewed efforts such as Spike Lee's 'She Hate Me' and 'Sucker Free City,' have been the exception to the rule in Mackie's filmography. He's been more associated with top-notch in films such as 'The Manchurian Candidate' with Denzel Washington, 'Million Dollar Baby' with Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman, or independent films that garnered Oscar nominations for his co-stars, like Ryan Gosling in 'Half Nelson' and Jeremy Renner in 'The Hurt Locker.'
With films like 'Baby' or 'Locker' under his belt, Mackie doesn't feel the need to chase big budget blockbusters. "The thing about it is that there are ways of doing those movies and those being quality movies," he recently shared with BlackVoices.com. "You just have to be smart about the people that you are working with. You have to have a sort of swagger about your disposition. I feel like I am a talented young man and if I don't feel that you are talented, then I don't want to work with you."
Outside of Hollywood heavyweights Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, and Don Cheadle, there aren't any of Mackie's peers getting substantial roles in mainstream films. Early in his career, I asked Mackie if racism was issue in Hollywood as to why there are less blacks in big budget films.
"No. The thing about it is, what do you want to see?" says Mackie. "There's a far cry between 'Soul Plane' and 'The Terminal,' and a far cry between 'Casino' and 'Player's Club,' but the sad thing about is, people still went and saw 'Soul Plane.' The sad thing about it is, it was a minority that directed it, and it was minorities that starred in the film. It's not racism."
"When I was offered the role in 'The Manchurian Candidate,' which put me on the set for a month watching Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Jonathan Demme, and Jeffrey Wright, I worked on a gritty dense piece of text, for a month, and it gave me two lines, but it wasn't about the lines. I got offered this other job, which offered me loads of money, and I was the lead with some MTV video director. See what I'm saying. Your choices will shape the scope of your career. So it's not about racism. If a white person put it in front of me, that don't mean that I have to take it. Most of the time it's the black people putting it in front of me and that's what bothers me. It's about individual moral issues."
While films have generated Mackie a bigger audience and more visibilty globally, he also has a passion for the stage, having done numerous plays, including Broadway vehicles 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' with Whoopi Goldberg, actress Regina Taylor's play, 'Drowning Crow' with Alfre Woodard, and last year's 'A Behanding in Spokane' with Christopher Walken.
In a couple of Off-Broadway production, he starred in Stephen Belber's 'McReele' for the Roundabout Theatre Company, and starred with Taye Diggs in a revival of the Pulitzer Prize winning play 'Soldier's Play' as a character made famous by Denzel Washington 20 years prior.
While still at Juilliard, Mackie played the famed rapper Tupac Shakur on an Off-Off Broadway 2001 production, 'Up Against the Wind,' and would later play Shakur again in the Fox Searchlight biopic 'Notorious,' the story of slain rapper Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Wallace.
Talk about coming full circle-- all in just a decade. Today, no other actor -- who debuted at the turn of the century -- can boast such an impressive and diverse portfolio of work.
If there's anyone poised for the next slot as Hollywood's Leading Black Man, it has to be Anthony Mackie.