Anthony Mackie has shown time and time again his wonderful acting chops through his numerous widely acclaimed on-screen performances. Among all of those brilliant portrayals lies his best-ever performance to date: that of the Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His portrayal of Sam Wilson aka Falcon was so epic that no one else could have played the character better than him, and that’s a fact.
Yet, while fans have grown fond of watching him as the winged superhero, Mackie’s first audition for a role in the MCU wasn’t for Falcon, but rather, for one of the most hated characters in Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man franchise: The Mandarin!
Anthony Mackie Initially Auditioned For The Mandarin
Everyone is aware of how Ben Kingsley ended up bagging the role of the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, so that’s that. But picture Anthony Mackie in that role. It’s quite unimaginable, no?
It’s understandable how surprising it is considering the entirely different personalities in every manner conceivable Kingsley and Mackie are. But it’s only true that the Falcon star initially auditioned for Kingsley’s villain-ish role in Robert Downey Jr.‘s film to make his debut in the MCU.
Sharing how and why the Shutter Island actor ended up bagging the role instead of him during an interview with Men’s Health, The Hurt Locker star said:
“If you’re making a movie about whoever, if you can get Ben Kingsley or Anthony Mackie, you get Ben Kingsley,” he said. “If you’re doing a damn biopic of Michael Jordan, and you can get Ben Kingsley, you get Ben Kingsley.”
Continuing, he further pointed out the inevitably strong influence that Kingsley has on the entertainment industry.
“It’s one of those things where you’re just auditioning people, and you audition every make and model that you can possibly go with while you’re waiting for Ben Kingsley to say yes or no.”
But regardless of whatever reason that Ben Kingsley might have been chosen over Anthony Mackie for the role, it was only for the best, for if that hadn’t happened, fans just might never have gotten the chance to see Mackie’s spectacular performance as the Falcon!
How Anthony Mackie Snubbed The Role Of Falcon
During another interview with Men’s Health, Anthony Mackie shared how he started lobbying Marvel after a year’s break from acting. Claiming he always wanted to play a superhero, he and his team approached the studio in the following manner via email:
“Yo, I’m the black dude from The Hurt Locker.
I would love to work with you guys.”
Considering his immaculate job in The Hurt Locker, Marvel was willing to work hard to get Mackie on board. While the audition for the Mandarin was his first one for the studio and while he didn’t get selected for it, he did get the chance to have lunch with the company’s creative brokers, which led to his appearance in The Winter Soldier as Chris Evans‘ Captain America’s wingman Falcon.
Sharing his take on his character, Mackie said:
“Growing up, I’d always loved Falcon, because he was a comic-book hero who was black who didn’t have ‘Black’ in the title,” he says. “He stood on his morals. He stood on who he was.”
Turns out, not only did Anthony Mackie bag the role of the character he loved since childhood, but he also performed as stunningly as ever to later on become one of the most major characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!