Many know Anthony Mackie primarily for his role of the Falcon in the MCU. And it recently came into prominence after his record-breaking Disney Plus show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. However, in actuality, Mackie has been a part of the industry for over 20 years. So, he has contributed more to Hollywood than most people realize. And during this time, Mackie has seen up close the hardships and hurdles that black actors and filmmakers have to overcome in order to put their vision and their passion on the big or small screen.
The Marvel star said Ma Rainey’s movie should have been made way sooner
In conversation with Hot 97, Anthony Mackie touched on this topic by mentioning Academy Award-nominated drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. He highlighted how this play should have been adapted into a movie way sooner, saying:
August Wilson kind of did something that we don’t talk about enough and we don’t celebrate enough, and he was a dear friend of mine. I knew him for a great period of time, and his play should’ve been made into movies. It’s kind of sad that we had to wait for him to pass away for him to get his just due. Those plays have been around since the 80s, why’d it take 30 some odd years to finally get a film made of Fences, to get a film made of Ma Rainey? These are prolific stories in an amazing 100 year scope of the Black experience in America.
Mackie further highlighted how Black actors have to work extra hard so that films like these can be made. He said:
As Black actors, we have to lend our celebrity to make sure that those plays are turned into films.
Black actors are given a tough time when they try to make their own movies, says Anthony Mackie
Mackie claimed that there are many agents who relish shutting down Black actors’ projects. And that makes for them fulfilling their vision an uphill battle, as the actor revealed:
You have so many agents and so many people in the way, stopping these projects. Like, their joy in life is to tell you ‘No.’ They wake up every morning with a hard-on, like, ‘Ooh, who I’ma tell no today?’ … So the problem is, we let so many people get in the way of us creating our content that it’s almost impossible to get a movie made. You have to fight with so many lawyers, so many agents, so many industry people, so many friends who are jealous of you, who want the job that you got but they can’t do what you do. And it just becomes a melting pot of ridiculousness that makes it damn near impossible for your passion to be everyone’s passion.
The big names get all the financing, says Mackie
Furthermore, host Ebro Darden tried to highlight how financing for Black actors and filmmakers has increased over time. Although Mackie agreed, he also highlighted how it’s only the big names that get their projects approved and funded. He said:
Well, you have to look at what goes into the idea of a project being ‘greenlit’, ok? So the reality of it is this: If you’re Matt Damon, if you’re Leonardo DiCaprio, if you’re Will Smith, Hollywood has become a business of passion projects, right? So everything you do, it’s your passion to do it. ‘I’m trying to get my movie made’. So if you’re one of the big stars, your passion is everybody’s passion. But if you’re just a B-level actor who’s really enthralled with a project and want to get it made, your passion is your passion.
Anthony Mackie is highlighting how there seems to be an elite capture within Hollywood. And that does not only result in just economic discrimination, but racial discrimination as well. And perhaps until these issues are fundamentally addressed, Hollywood will persist to have a lack of diversity.