Tag Archives: Anthony Mackie

Anthony Mackie and the Definition of Stardom

I was struck by this exchange between actor Anthony Mackie and Jai Tiggett over at Shadow and Act.

JT: There’s been some talk on our site lately about your career and whether you’ll go on to play the leading man more consistently, in large studio films. Is that your goal, or do you prefer to stay under the radar?

AM: Hollywood’s a business, and until someone puts their finger on you and decides you’re the guy who’s going to carry that movie, it’s not going to happen. So I’m just enjoying the position that I’m in right now and trying to make the most of it.

JT: So would you say that yes, Anthony Mackie wants to be “the guy”?

AM: [Laughs]. Most of the time when you see a movie, the best character in the movie is not “the guy,” it’s the guy next to the guy. So I enjoy playing “the guy next to the guy” because it’s always – in almost every movie last year – the best character in the movie. It’s just fun as an actor to get the opportunity to do something where you can really sink your teeth into it.

What I like about this exchange is that it suggests that Anthony Mackie is incredibly self-aware and very comfortable with the choices he’s making as an actor, regardless of how they might be perceived by the public.

I think it’s somewhat strange to be thinking about “who the next Will Smith will be” partly because Will ain’t goin nowhere and partly because the question suggests that his model is the only model of what it means to be a black movie star.

I think we’re limiting ourselves when we have this conversation. Anthony seems to understand that in a way that I don’t think people appreciate enough. I think he’s quite eloquent in chafing (without chafing, really) at the notion that he’s not “successful” because he’s not a Big Willie. He’s consistently suggested that there are other models for success and that our obsession with Will’s assimilationist model isn’t the only one we should aspire to.

In my mind, the guy that says this:

and this:

isn’t concerned about the Will Smith model. He’s thinking about his own.

We need to start listening to Anthony Mackie, man.

Black Hollywood, ctd.

 

Mackie is right that it would help if we essentially see Hollywood as less what is and more what could be. This is where Tyler Perry can actually be an important and useful figure – he just did it himself.

But unfortunately Will Smith is the goal. Everyone waiting around to get the big movie that makes them millionaires so they too can make movies that have absolutely nothing to do with us.

Biggie Biggie Biggie

Here’s to hoping it’s not simplistic and exploitative like the 50 biopic.

The casting is inspired.  Naturi from 3LW playing Lil Kim ought to be a hoot.  And personally, if they had to pick names I can’t think of any people better than Derek Luke and Anthony Mackie (the best black actor of his generation) playing Puff and ‘Pac, respectively.

Speaking of:

Where’s the film on ‘Pac, dammit?!

Says so much about our country that biopics on Eminem, 50 and Biggie beat ‘Pac to the punch.