By Cynthia Reid | Shadow and Act February 3, 2012 at 5:36PM
In an interview promoting his co-starring appeareance in Man On A Ledge, Anthony Mackie took the time to reiterate, and clarify, with NPR some of his feelings regarding the black film industry and more.
When asked about the "controversy" that was created when he declared that African-Americans in the movie business have not done enough to tell their stories. He states...
"Well, I think that statement was blown completely out of proportion because of one phrase I used in particular. And that was a bad choice of words by me. But I do think that if you look at some of the pioneers in this business, you know, you know, God rest his soul, Don Cornelius started "Soul Train," you know, with what, $200? If you look at Robert Townsend, he started his career by producing and directing a film on a credit card. If you look at what Bill Cosby was able to do with his career.
If you look at all of these people from the analogs of African-American history in entertainment, they gave us a blueprint on how to make money, and how to make it work. And I feel like, you know, you get out in the L.A. life. You're laying in the sun. You're being invited to parties. You're having a good time. You have girlfriends, boyfriends. You have expensive cars. You forget the idea of hustle. And I think right now, our hustle game is way behind.
I think if you look at what Judd Apatow has done, what Seth Rogen has done, if you look at, you know, what Latino film stars have done with, you know, their five major Latino networks right now. I think we have to work harder towards our own demographic and telling our own stories. I think it's preposterous that we have to look back to George Lucas to tell the story of some of the greatest American - figures in history with the film "Red Tails." You know, I think if we want that story to be told, that's something that we can tell and something that we can do."
When asked where's the Anthony Mackie movie? Where's the film he's going to make? His response...
"Yeah. I read that all the time, and I'm asked that question all the time. And, you know, I have projects that I'm working on and things I want to get done. You know, but at the end of the day, this is a business, and I don't want to put myself out there until I'm ready to be put out there. You know, now it's a slow burn. You know, Morgan Freeman didn't pop in this business until he was well over 40. You know, if you look at Sam Jackson, Sam Jackson didn't pop in this business until he was, you know, damn near 40.
So I'm in a position now where I'm allowing myself to grow. I don't want to jump out and then do something that people don't appreciate or don't like, and that I'm a one-hit wonder that you'll never hear from again. You have to allow yourself that aspect of nurturing and growing until you're ready to pop out there on the scene. And that's why I try to diversify my portfolio of roles. So when it's time for me to do that, I can bring a modicum of ideas and cultural references to a role to have people interested and have people want to see more of me. I think that's why Denzel is where he is. I think that's why Will Smith is where he is."
He also spoke of his learning experience while filming Brother To Brother stating...
"Well, doing "Brother to Brother" was kind of magical because living in Harlem at the time, I learned so much about culture and history that I didn't learn in school. I think being an actor, I'm blessed with the opportunity to look at different facets of life in a completely different way. I'm able to be voyeuristic in a very supported, nurtured environment when it comes to different aspects of culture. So I learned so much about myself and really about where I come from. And I think it garnered a certain amount of pride when it comes to, you know, my history and my culture, specifically being from New Orleans and all the great artists that have come before me and put me in the plate, given me the ability to be where I am."
And when asked about the not-so-good reviews for Man On A Ledge, he had this to say...
"You know what, this is a hit-or-miss business. I think every project you do, it's, you know, six one way, half a dozen the next. I actually enjoyed the movie. I feel like we've gotten away from what good movies used to be. I think it's a action/suspense/thriller. And the last time I saw a, quote, unquote, "suspenseful movie," I was so confused by the end of it, I had to idea what was going on."
You can listen to the complete interview HERE.