Anthony Mackie Says Marvel Needs to Have More Diverse Sets: 'Hire the Best Person for the Job'
"I’ve done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white," Anthony Mackie said
Anthony Mackie, who next stars in Disney+'s anticipated series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, is calling on Marvel to diversity its film sets.
During a recent talk with fellow actor Daveed Diggs for Variety's Actors on Actors issue, Mackie — who has starred in several Marvel films, including Avengers: Endgame, as Falcon — says that it "really bothered" him that he didn't see more diversity on the sets of the Marvel projects he's worked on.
"I’ve done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white," he said.
"We’ve had one Black producer; his name was Nate Moore," Mackie, 41, continued. "He produced Black Panther. But then when you do Black Panther, you have a Black director, Black producer, a Black costume designer, a Black stunt choreographer."
"And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else," he added. "Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?"
Moore also produced Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, both of which Mackie appeared in.
Of the Marvel films previously released, two were directed by non-white directors: Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok and Ryan Coogler's Black Panther. Mackie has appeared in several Marvel films, including Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame, produced by Trinh Tran, who is of Asian descent.
Its upcoming slate includes a diverse slate of filmmakers, including Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao, who's helming The Eternals; Destin Daniel Cretton, who is of Japanese descent, and will direct Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings; as well as Coogler, who's returning for the sequel to Black Panther.
Mahershala Ali, the first Muslim actor to win an Academy Award, was recently cast by Marvel to play the superhero Blade in an upcoming film. And The Eternals, out Feb. 12, 2021, boasts Marvel's most diverse cast yet, by featuring lead actors of Pakistani, Latin and Middle Eastern origin, as well as the first deaf hero.
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As for how Mackie would like to see Marvel change its practices, he said, "My big push with Marvel is hire the best person for the job. Even if it means we’re going to get the best two women, we’re going to get the best two men. Fine. I’m cool with those numbers for the next 10 years. Because it starts to build a new generation of people who can put something on their résumé to get them other jobs. If we’ve got to divvy out as a percentage, divvy it out. And that’s something as leading men that we can go in and push for."
Mackie's comments come as the star is gearing up for his new Marvel TV series for Disney+ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The series is reported to have cost $150 million, with the actor telling Diggs it's being produced and filmed the same way a Marvel movie would be.
"We’re shooting it exactly like a movie,” he said. "Everybody who had worked on TV before was like, ‘I’ve never worked on a TV show like this.’ The way in which we were shooting, it feels exactly like we were shooting the movie cut up into the show. So instead of a two-hour movie, a six or eight-hour movie."
In the Kevin Feige-produced series, Mackie reprises his role as the Falcon opposite Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier. They were in the middle of shooting the series when they had to stop in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We were in Europe, and everything got crazy in Europe first," Mackie said. "So they shut us down two weeks before the U.S. shutdown. It was really amazing just because I feel like we’re the first Marvel show or movie that had budget constraints. And that was always my [experience], ‘It’s Marvel, we could shoot forever.’ And they’re like, ‘Nah.’ So it was a very different experience from the rest of the movies. But at the same time, it was a lot of fun."
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