He's about as hot as they come these days and thrilled to have the opportunity to play a pair of icons in his next two films.
Anthony Mackie, best known for his roles in "We Are Marshall," "She Hate Me" and "Million Dollar Baby," was in L.A. recently serving as the celebrity ambassador for the 2008 American Black Film and talked with WTF about two upcoming projects. He'll be playing Tupac Shakur in the much-anticipated Biggie Smalls biopic "Notorious" and Jesse Owens in the film based on the historic Olympic sprinter's life.
Mackie, who said he was a fan of Shakur's said the coolest part about playing him was getting to really know the man. "The thing about Pac is that he lives in so many parallel realities that there’s no right way or wrong way to portray him. He’s truly an innovator of our universal hip reality," he said.
Mackie also said audiences would gain a real understanding on what the relationship between Biggie and Pac was really like. "The thing about Pac that was so great is that he was a mentor to Biggie," he said. "All through his career he was looking for someone to spark that flame and Biggie just happened to be that person—the young talent that he could identify with. So you see that, you see how admiration and respect turns into bitterness and betrayal."
As for Jesse Owens, Mackie said he had been running 3 to 4 miles every day in preparation and couldn't be prouder to play such an iconic figure. "Jesse Owens changed the world. You look at China right now, you look at what Hitler was doing in 1936. Jesse Owens changed the world. When Jesse Owens went to the Olympics and basically destroyed Hitler’s idea of this superior being—hopefully the Summer Olympics in 2008 will do the same with the legacy that Chairman Mao left in China."