Anthony Mackie reveals how his Juilliard physical acting teacher helped him deal with the physical challenges of Marvel’s Falcon role.
Anthony Mackie, who plays the Falcon, is a Juilliard trained actor. Since he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he learned acting is a lot tougher when you’re dropped 30 feet from the sky.
In comments shared by Entertainment Weekly, Mackie discussed and talked about the physical challenges playing a superhero. He credited what he learned about physical acting from his education through Juilliard professor Moni Yakim. The interview is from Mackie’s appearance in the recent documentary about Yakin, Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy.
Mackie says when he first signed up to play Falcon, he studied the flying habits of birds to determine how the character would land after flying. He tells The Marvel movies were the first time I had to do an action thing. My name’s the Falcon, so I show up, I sit with the graphics team and the directors, and they’re like, ‘We want you to land like a bird.’ Because you have wings… you have to pull your legs in, swoop your core in, let your wings slow you down, and then land on your feet. Being the weird actor that I am and going back to my mime and clown days, I went and started studying all these birds and the way they land, the way they took off, they way they flew, and all this stuff.”
Even preparing for the role, he still did not have very many graceful landings. Mackie continues, “The first day — I think we were doing Civil War, and there’s the scene where [Vision] shoots Rhodey out of the sky and I land to see if he’s okay — I’m supposed to land, so they pull me up like 30 feet off the ground and I’m on a pendulum, so I’m supposed to pull my legs under me and land to a stop. I didn’t realize how much my lower body weighed, so I pull on the ropes to try and bring my legs under but I can’t get my core in, and I literally land face-first in the dirt and bounce for about 10 feet. I have grass and mud all in my face. The crew is just dying laughing. Everybody is dying laughing.”
He added, “It became a comedy of errors of every day when I had to land and how they were going to kill me. To this day: ‘How do we crash him into something?'”
That said, Mackie credits the physicality of his Juilliard training for keeping him healthy during crash landings. He says, “The physicality of that directly stems from the work — the physical work, the clown work, mime work, the body inhabitance — that we learned in Moni’s class”
In relevant news, Anthony Mackie discussed how Marvel should work on increasing diversity on set. During an interview with Daveed Diggs for Variety’s Actors on Actor, Mackie discussed how the Black Lives Matter movement is putting a spotlight on diversity in Hollywood.