January 26th, 2010
12:42 PM ET

'Hurt Locker' was grueling, actor says

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No one is more surprised by the awards season success of Iraqi war drama “The Hurt Locker” than one of its stars, Anthony Mackie.

“If anybody tells you they expected any of this they’re lying,” Mackie told CNN during an interview to promote another movie, his Sundance film “Night Catches Us” this week. “It was a hard movie to make and by the time everybody got to the end of the shoot everybody was happy that it was done. We were happy making the movie but there was nothing easy about it.”

After two-and a half months of a grueling location shoot in Jordan, Mackie says the cast walked away having lost a lot a of weight with some great tans.

The shoot for “Night Catches Us,” a drama set in the 1970s at the end of the Black Panther movement, was challenging for Mackie as an actor, but much less physically grueling. Still Mackie didn’t get the role of a former Black Panther party member who struggles to reconcile his past, without a fight.

“The actor they were considering for the part fell out and I made my move,” Mackie said. "I had to give quite the spiel."

The character of Marcus was a complex one, something the actor wishes to engage in more of in his future in the film industry, a future that he hopes includes a wider array of roles for black male actors.

“There are a definite lack of a certain kinds of roles for young black actors. Can a brother be a hobbit?” Mackie asked.

“I would love to be a super hero. I would love to be a love interest. I want to be the dude who gets the chick and is awkward and funny onscreen and gets to kiss the girl at the end of the day. If you’re a black guy in a comedy today you’re not in a situational comedy and I’m not interested in doing ‘Soul Plane.’”

To correct that imbalance, the actor who has portrayed Tupac Shakur, Nat Turner and Jesse Owens onscreen and is without a doubt one of the fastest rising stars in Hollywood says he is prepared to just write the scripts himself.

But in the meantime he is a busy man. Mackie is in the midst of rehearsals for the Broadway production of the dark comedy, “A Behanding in Spokane,” opposite Christopher Walken.

“Chris is an interesting character and we have had a lot of fun working on the play so far. He makes dynamic choices and puts you in a position to do your best work,” Mackie said, “And he has a real sense of humor. He’s not as weird as I thought he’d be. I haven’t seen that part of him yet.”

As for that superhero Mackie would like to play? His super power of choice would be the ability to see through walls.
“My superhero would be like Will Smith’s character in ‘Hitch’. He would like women just as much as the guys he is hooking up, but would be able to see through the walls to watch what happens after they get together.”

It seems clear that once Mackie gets pen to paper, we’ll be seeing and entirely new genre of comedic superhero poised as a romantic leading man.

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Filed under: movies • Sundance Film Festival

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Shane McGuire

    My wife and I just rented the film Hurt Locker. I have to say it was a pretty good flick!

    Though I have to compare this film with an earlier series named Danger UXB from the BBC. It was also about EODS Crews, but during World War 2.

    I think the one thing the film did not convey well, was the fact that the crews who go into the EODS must volunteer for those positions. Like Airborne Rangers, the soldiers must apply for those positions on a voluntary basis.

    They all accept the position and the risks the position will require of them. Ultimately the mission is for them to come home at the end of each of their rotations. But all of them understand and accept the risks involved with this particular type of work.

    I have a cousin who does this type of work. Our family is all too aware of the risks involved. But he believes that he is doing his very best to assist in getting those materials disposed of properly.

    There is one aspect of the film that is incorrect according to him. If the device poses entirely too much risk to the technicians, it is normally blown in place using a .50BMG Barrett 82A2 Rifle from a distance. The Techs, very rarely get that close any longer, unless it simpley cannot be done by any other means.

    Just something to think about when watching this film.

    Overall however, it was a very well done film. Worth at least a one time through.

    January 29, 2010 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. RS1981

    Anthony Mackie, if you want good roles for an african american male, go see Tyler Perry. He seems to do movies where people can relate no matter the race, even though his cast is predominately african american. I watched his movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman, and I thought it was a great movie, very well written...As for Christopher Walken, I knew the man wasn't really weird, he just likes to fool people. Just watch him whenever he's on SNL, and you'll see. The man's a hoot, and talented as well. Anthony can learn a lot from Chris Walken.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. emme

    If you went to The Hurt Locker expecting to be entertained, then you were either confused or misled. I'm sure you had a much better time at Transformers, parts 1 and 2.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob Jones

    Hurt Locker was cool, but had a whatever conclusion. It was aimless and random, touched on a few good plot points, then never went back to them. A slice of life pic that suffered from a lack of any substantial direction. And I've worked in Hollywood. All film shoots are grueling. And actors have it the easiest. Quit whining and give some of your pay to the underpaid crew that had it 10 times worse.

    January 26, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. James C

    it was a great film but there wasn't a story arc to it. the actors did a fantastic job.

    January 26, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Farbot

    I just watched The Hurt Locker... It was very disappointing, not much action not much drama and not a hole lot of plot or dialect. pretty boaring actually. Its not that the movie itself was bad or good just didnt float my boat. But here's to ya if you found it entertaining.

    January 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. beth

    Anthony Mackie – can't wait to see more of your work! The Hurt Locker was mind blowing. Incredible. Bravo to you and all the fellas in that film, and to the director. Hope she wins BIG!

    January 26, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mia

    You did a wonderful job in "The Hurt Locker". Hope you continue your acting career with the same fervor! Best of luck!

    January 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |

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