Let's Take a Moment to Appreciate Anthony Mackie's Recent Decisions

Between working with fringe filmmakers and taking on projects about the big issues, this guy is marching to the beat of his own drum. That deserves our respect.

Anthony Mackie Falcon
Marvel Studios

Anthony Mackie isn’t the type of actor who craves the spotlight. He’s content to let his co-stars get most of the attention while he serves as the sidekick, the loyal teammate, or the charismatic background player. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this, but for the most part he’s an ensemble guy.

That said, he’s usually so good that the spotlight finds him anyway. Just look at Captain America: The Winter Soldier for further evidence. Even in small roles, he makes his presence known, proving that he’s anything but filler. He brings his characters to life and makes them feel important, regardless of their stature. The actor also brings so much charisma to the table that you wonder when he’ll become a bona fide leading man like the The Hurt Locker led us to believe he would be someday.

But maybe that’s not the actor Mackie wants to be. He’s not driven by fame and fortune. He seems to pick the roles that interest him, and he digs being part of a bigger crew. So much so — and to the dismay of many an MCU fan — he doesn’t even want a Falcon spin-off movie to happen. Most other actors would sell their own grandparents for their own Marvel outing.

Every once in a while, though, Mackie will remind us that he’s capable of being front and center in a movie. For example, just recently, Deadline broke the news that he’d be reteaming with his Marvel buddy Samuel L. Jackson for The Banker, which is based on a true story about two black businessmen in 1950’s America who recruit a white man (played by Nicholas Hoult) to pose as their company’s head honcho. I can’t wait to see Mackie get his teeth stuck into this one and showcase his dramatic chops some.

But that’s not the only exciting news to emerge from Club Mackie lately. The Banker merely adds another interesting project to a growing list of roles that will let the actor strut his stuff. Like The Banker, a couple of these movies will feature him in prominent roles as well.

Mackie is no stranger to working with top-notch A-list directors, but going forward he seems intent on working with the B players (in a good way). Could Mackie spearhead a tentpole blockbuster? Absolutely. However, these aren’t the roles he’s gravitating towards right now. And it’s this type of unpredictability that’s getting me pumped. Let’s take a look at the most leftfield picks.

The biggest surprise of the bunch is most definitely Synchronic, the latest from indie auteurs Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson. After unleashing a triple punch of genre-bending gems in the form of Resolution, Spring, and The Endless, this duo is building quite the reputation for themselves out on the fringe. This is why Mackie’s inclusion in their next mind-bender, a sci-fi thriller about drugs that cause bizarre, otherworldly effects, is so awesome. He isn’t known for starring in unconventional genre flicks, but his inclusion will bring more visibility to Moorhead and Benson, who are proving themselves to be unique visionaries.

Another director who deserves to be more well-known is Joe Lynch, the action-horror maverick behind EverlyMayhem, and Wrong Turn 2. Lynch is known for making low-budget bloodbaths that never cease to entertain, but he deserves more widespread recognition. His next movie, Point Blank, is a remake of the 2010 French thriller of the same name and stars Mackie and fellow Marvel alumni, Frank Grillo. This looks like another action-thriller that will cater to Mackie’s sensibilities, but Lynch is a director whose movies pack a little more punch than most. Not only does Mackie being involved in this one bring eyes to a talent that deserves to catch a big break, but the movie itself will let the actor cut loose some. Lynch’s brand of action goes for the jugular, and seeing Mackie in that environment will be badass.

Finally, he’ll also be lending his talents to a couple of movies that address the big issues. The first is Against All Enemies, which will see him play a fictionalized version of the real-life activist Hakim Jamal. The story follows a young FBI agent (played by Kristen Stewart) who must investigate iconic actress Jean Seberg when she becomes embroiled in the civil rights movement in late 1960’s Los Angeles. Elsewhere, he’ll also be starring alongside Jamie Foxx and Elizabeth Banks in Signal Hill, where he’ll play a lawyer who gets assigned a police brutality case.

The fact that Mackie is using his Marvel star power to elevate indie filmmakers and tackle socially relevant movies makes him the man in my eyes. I hope he continues following his heart and picking the roles that excite him as his career progresses. But if he gets offered that Falcon movie at some point, he should take it. Helping the little guys and telling the important stories is great and all, but let’s not forget that he plays a pretty awesome superhero.

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