Imagine you’re a successful actor whose appeared in Oscar nominated films and worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood and people barely know your name. Such has been the case with New Orleans thespian Anthony Mackie. Despite star turns in the critically acclaimed 2009 war film “The Hurt Locker,” when people see Mackie on the street, they still shout, “Hey, Papa Doc!” Papa Doc was Mackie’s breakthrough role in Eminem‘s 2002 film “8 Mile.”
Since playing Eminem's nemesis, Anthony Mackie has made a name for himself starring in films with heart and substance. Next on his plate is the action crime dramedy "Pain & Gain" alongside Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson due out April 26th. The film tells the true story of a trio of witless bodybuilders who are tired of struggling to make ends meet and kidnap, extort, torture, and murder several unsuspecting victims in brutal fashion. Mackie plays one of the three bodybuilders named Adrian Doorbal. Directed by Michael Bay, "Pain & Gain" is based on a series of articles printed in the "Miami New Times" newspaper.
With the story portrayed in the film being true, “Pain & Gain” has seen its fair share of opposition from the victims’ families. The Urban Daily got a chance to speak with Anthony Mackie about the concerns surrounding the film, what it feels like to be the first black superhero, and why he’ll never play another rapper on the big screen again.
TUD: Could you give me a synopsis on the film “Pain & Gain”?
AM: It’s plain and simple. The movie’s about three body builders who, in a very convoluted way, try to achieve the American dream. They kidnap, extort, and murder wealthy guys they are training in Miami.
What attracted you to the role?
I really wanted to work with Mark and Dwayne. I’ve been fans of theirs for a while. Also, I’ve always wanted to work with Michael Bay. I was hoping it would be “Bad Boys 3,” but this is a fair compromise. I loved the script. When I read the script I was really intrigued by the idea of this being a true story.
What was it like working with Rebel Wilson and having her play your wife?
It was great! Rebel is a giver. She’s always easy to work with and is just fun and supportive. As soon as she came onto set we clicked. She hasn’t been in the States long so I’m glad to say I was one of the first people to have a crack at her as a love interest.
The film is sort of written so that the three bodybuilder are kind of sympathetic. When you first read the script and then did subsequent research, how did you feel about that, considering the actual murders were so gruesome but the film makes it seem like a comedy?
Well, I don’t think it’s portrayed as a comedy. If you look at it in the movie, the situation of it is so ridiculous that it comes across as funny. I think that’s why midway through the movie, Michael put the tag line, “This is still a true story.” There are so many things in our reality that are so far beyond what our imagination could come up with and this is one of those things. The reality of the situation is so ridiculous that when you watch the movie, you have to say to yourself, “No way! Is that true?!” When you find out its true, the ridiculousness of it is what’s funny to you.