Anthony Mackie stars in Pain and Gain and Movie Fanatic had the opportunity to talk exclusively with him about the incredible true story that also stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson.
Mackie is Adrian Doorbal, a bodybuilder/fitness trainer, who with Wahlberg’s Daniel Lugo and Johnson’s Paul Doyle, kidnaps Tony Shalhoub’s Victor Kershaw and attempts to extort all of his money. And that’s not even all… the real life trio went on a crime spree in the 1990s that captivated all of Miami.
Mackie, who recently starred in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Real Steel, has been quite busy lately, and he even gives us the details on when he starts shooting Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Movie Fanatic: Now that you’ve lived it, describe the Michael Bay experience.
Anthony Mackie: [Laughs] It’s intense. The thing about Michael that I really love is that Michael does not suffer fools. He’s a hard worker and he comes to the set prepared. I think he gets a bad reputation because when you’re not prepared, he moves on without you. As someone who works hard, you respect that. But, for someone who is not used to that -- not used to being called on your (expletive) -- it can be a bit overpowering.
Movie Fanatic: The man has such a keen vision for what he wants to put onscreen, for you as an actor, was that nice to arrive on the set to work with someone who so firmly knows what he wants?
Anthony Mackie: Definitely. I really enjoyed it. One of the reasons I wanted to work with Michael is because you know he wouldn’t leave you high and dry. He sees the world in a beautiful way. Everyone he has worked with, not only did he make them look the best they looked in their career, but he also gave them an opportunity to put themselves out there the way they wanted to be put out there. Will Smith wanted to be a movie star. Michael Bay put him in a movie where he’s running down the street, sliding across the hood of a car… and as soon as he did that everyone said, “That guy’s a movie star.” Megan Fox wanted to be a sexpot. He put her in shorts and put her over the hood of that Camaro and everyone said, “You know what, that chick is a sexpot.” He has that vision. He sees the world in a way that no one else does.
Movie Fanatic: As stated in the Pain and Gain trailer, this is an incredible true story. Beyond working with Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, was telling this true tale part of the appeal?
Anthony Mackie: I love playing outrageous characters. I love getting into the psyche of people and figuring out why people do what they do. When I read this script, I was turned on by the idea of people justifying their actions. I wanted to explore that as an artist. How do you look at yourself in the mirror every day knowing that you’ve done what you’ve done and you’re OK with it?
Movie Fanatic: A movie like this, usually it’s a buddy piece. But you had the joy of having two superstars in there with you with Wahlberg and Johnson. How was working with those two and how did you create such explosive chemistry?
Anthony Mackie: Mark really pushed me to my limits. I can say I really enjoyed working with him. It was fun. Watching Dwayne work and seeing him develop and grow, I felt he grew so much doing this movie. It was funny to see firsthand. Almost ironic, it makes me happy to see another actor go through that. I love to see growth in the person across from me because I feel it makes me grow as well. It was a constant ongoing process and battle to make these characters real. I think that’s why the movie came out so well. There were no egos.
Movie Fanatic: You share a number of great scenes with Rebel Wilson (check them out in this Pain and Gain clip). She’s blowing up right now after Pitch Perfect and the MTV Movie Awards hosting gig. What is it about her ? You had a front row seat to her… what most impressed you about her?
Anthony Mackie: Rebel’s a team player. She really goes for it. The first rule of comedy is to never say no. Everything I threw at her and she went with it. I think that’s why our characters worked out so well. I told her, “Look, I don’t know where you are in your life, but I’m going to make you like me before this movie is over.” So many people try to make fun of her weight or the fact she’s Australian and I’m American, or she’s white and I’m black. The idea of it is this: We dedicate ourselves to each other in the movie -- everybody will come away believing it.
Movie Fanatic: You’ve had quite a varied career that is ever building. What do you look for in a story? What does it have to say to you?
Anthony Mackie: I always look for characters that are out of the box and different than ones I’ve played before. Just the pitch I get from the director, if the director is not going to do anything unique with the story, then it don’t make sense to do it. If you do a movie, you’re investing a year of your life to that. I feel it has to be something special. Early in my career I had an actor tell me, not the best actor in the world who has done over 100 movies... I asked him how he does it. He said, “Anthony, no one likes an (expletive). I work so much because people like to have me around.” [Laughs] That was some of the best advice I’ve gotten.
Movie Fanatic: Are you part of The Avengers world heading forward?
Anthony Mackie: I hope so. As of now, I’m definitely in Captain America. I don’t know if that puts me in The Avengers. I have no idea. A lot of it right now is speculation. But, if they ask me to be in it, I won’t fight it!
Movie Fanatic: Have you started shooting Captain America: Winter’s Soldier yet?
Anthony Mackie: I start on Monday!