Anthony Mackie

Anthony Mackie

Born in New Orleans, LA, Mackie was raised in the Seventh Ward and for a time, entertained the idea of becoming an engineer like his older brother, Professor Calvin Mackie, who was featured prominently in the Spike Lee documentary "When the Levees Broke" (HBO, 2006). He changed his mind about becoming an engineer after seeing the Challenger shuttle explosion on TV. He believed - as did the rest of the world once the facts were released - that the faulty O-ring engineering caused the shuttle to explode. The disaster effectively ended his engineering fascination. A self-admitted troubled student whose issues were exacerbated by the death of his mother when he was 15, Mackie was encouraged to direct his boundless energy into an after-school theater program; after winning an award from the Speech and Theater League Festival in 1992, Mackie dove headlong into acting. He was soon appearing in local theater productions and on public access television, and by his senior year, he was studying at the North Carolina School of the Arts. A weekend retreat at Julliard convinced him to further his training at the esteemed school; while there, he earned his first critical accolades as rapper Tupac Shakur in the play "Up Against the Wind" (2001), which was brought to Broadway. The success of that show brought more stage work to Mackie, including "Talk," which won him an Obie Award, and understudy to one of his professional influences, Don Cheadle, in "Topdog/Underdog," both in 2002. That same year, Mackie made his feature film debut as the fearsome Papa Doc, the main antagonist to Eminem's Jimmy Rabbit in "8 Mile." His presence in the film attracted the attention of casting agents, who soon booked him in supporting roles in major studio projects like "Hollywood Homicide" (2003) and "The Manchurian Candidate" (2003). However, it was the independent film "Brother to Brother" (2003) that attracted the most press attention to Mackie's talents. An acclaimed drama about the parallels between the lives of a young art student (Mackie) and a homeless man whose homosexuality made him an outcast during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, the film earned Mackie an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 2004. Mackie earned his first lead role in a motion picture with Spike Lee's critically lambasted "She Hate Me" (2004), about a disgraced business executive (Mackie) who finds work as a sperm donor to lesbians wishing to have a child. The rancor over the film's subject matter, which helped to sink it at the box office, had little effect on Mackie's career, and he soon graduated to substantial parts in Hollywood features. He provided "Million Dollar Baby" (2005) with one of its most satisfying moments as the loud-mouthed boxer who is silenced by a blow from former fighter-turned-clean-up man Morgan Freeman, and played real-life college football player Nate Ruffin, whose life is forever changed by the death of his teammates in "We Are Marshall" (2006). Mackie also kept a hand in the indie cinema world with notable turns as a dealer in "Half Nelson" (2006) and as anti-slavery fighter Nat Turner in "Ascension Day" (2007). Mackie received a second Independent Spirit nomination for "The Hurt Locker" (2008), Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq War drama about the physical and emotional strain inflicted on an explosives disposal team. That same year, he reprised his role as Tupac Shakur in the biopic "Notorious" (2009), about the turbulent life of rapper The Notorious B.I.G., and participated in a series of staged readings of August Wilson's plays at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In 2010, Mackie starred with Kerry Washington in the little-seen 1970s-set drama "Night Catches Us" and went on to a series of high-profile projects. After playing an unlikely ally to Matt Damon's fate-challenging character in the fantastical romance film "The Adjustment Bureau" (2011), Mackie appeared in the surprisingly poignant and engaging robot-boxing movie "Real Steel" (2011), starring Hugh Jackman. In 2012, he played the future president's devoted friend William Johnson in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and turned up the following year in another Hollywood period piece, "Gangster Squad," where he portrayed a member of an elite mob-battling police unit. Mackie subsequently bulked up to star as a criminally inclined bodybuilder alongside Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson in "Pain & Gain" (2013), and was featured in two major movies that fall, the thriller "Runner Runner" and the controversial biopic "The Fifth Estate." Mackie gained considerable attention by co-starring in the superhero smash "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014), but his next two films were considerably smaller and more issue-oriented: "Black and White" (2014) was a legal drama touching on racial issues, while "Shelter" (2014) costarred Mackie and Jennifer Connelly as a pair of homeless people who find love; Connelly's husband Paul Bettany wrote and directed the film. Mackie reappeared as Falcon in "Ant-Man" (2015) and "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (2015) before he co-starred in Sandra Bullock's political satire "Our Brand Is Crisis" (2015) and the Seth Rogen comedy "The Night Before" (2015). Along with continuing to appear as Falcon in MCU films including "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018) and "Avengers: Endgame" (2019). Mackie appeared in action thriller "Triple 9" (2016), period drama "Detroit" (2017), young adult drama "The Hate U Give" (2018), crime drama "Miss Bala" (2019), science fiction drama "IO (2019) and biopic "Seberg" (2019). In late 2019. Mackie was set to star in the period drama "The Banker" with Samuel L. Jackson, but the completed film was pulled from distribution just before its premiere after allegations about the family of Mackie's real-life character, Bernard Garrett, were made public.