Anthony Mackie: ‘Captain America’ Star Talks ‘All The Way’ Weight Gain, Marvel’s Diversity

Actor Anthony Mackie is apparently starring in two films that were physically demanding for him.

The first film, Captain America: Civil War, allowed Mackie to suit up yet again as Sam Wilson/The Falcon. The worldwide box-office hit movie marked Anthony’s fourth appearance in a Marvel film as that character.

Working alongside Captain America himself (Chris Evans) in that particular franchise essentially makes working out and staying in shape physically a requirement.

The second film that required a physical transformation of the 37-year-old actor is the Jay Roach-directed HBO film, All the Way.

Instead of getting in shape and losing weight (like most actors within the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Anthony Mackie apparently had to gain weight to play the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the anticipated HBO drama.

During an interview with The Wrap, Mackie had a chance to discuss his expected weight gain for the role as well as why it was such a big change for him.

“Unfortunately, I did ‘Captain America’ before I did ‘All the Way.’ Jay Roach wanted me to gain a few pounds, so it was a little bit of a change. The weight was the biggest headache. I put on 10, 15 pounds.”

Anthony Mackie even joked that his heavier frame became the butt of an ongoing joke in his home between him and his wife.

“It got to the point to where my wife was calling me ‘Fat Mackie.’ Ah, marriage.”

In addition to gaining weight in order to play Martin Luther King, Jr. in All the Way, Mackie also had to gain the knowledge needed to create an authentic yet respectful portrayal of the civil rights leader.

During the first conversation that he had with the film’s director Jay Roach, he was reportedly given “tons and tons of clippings and writings and essays about Dr. King.” However, it was one particular book about the final chapter of King’s life that apparently proved to be the most vital source material for his research.

“Tavis Smiley wrote a book called ‘Death of a King,’ which was a really amazing look at the last 365 days of Dr. King’s life. It was probably the most important piece of source material.”

All the Way focuses on diversity as an overall principle applied in history instead of just a theory. In Anthony Mackie’s opinion, the film (which also stars for Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston) focused on the positive sides of the former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson – sides that are apparently very easy to overlook.

Mackie states that the more he learned about Johnson, the more he “saw he was a great president.” Mackie further explained that, if it was not for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Emancipation Proclamation would have lost all of its value.

“There was no president who did what he did in eight months. He was a phenomenal president and I think that shouldn’t be overlooked.”

When it comes to diversity, Anthony Mackie also feels that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is doing a good job at hiring a wide range of actors and actresses from different backgrounds. According to Mackie, “that’s how it should be – bringing in the best person for the job.”

All the Way, starring Bryan Cranston and Anthony Mackie, premieres on HBO Sunday.

[Image Credit: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]

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