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The Hilarious True Story About Anthony Mackie's First Day On The Set Of Civil War

Anthony Mackie's first flight as the Falcon on the set of Captain America: Civil War almost ended in disaster.

Though he had soared briefly in both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of UltronCivil War truly put the Falcon's aerial acrobatics front and center right from the start. According to a recent interview with Mackie in Entertainment Weekly, the star had a little trouble getting off the ground, even though he brought some serious training to the process. Unfortunately, that didn't stop him from a pretty embarrassing landing.

Mackie might be known for his blockbuster appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he's also a trained classical actor who studied at Juilliard under founding faculty member Moni Yakim. With Yakim featured as the subject of the new documentary Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy, Mackie and other former students chatted with EW about their time studying with the master. Apparently, Mackie brought his Juilliard training with him to the skies as Marvel's own Sam Wilson.

However, as it turns out, the amount of thought and preparation that Mackie brought barely helped him at all in the superheroics department. Here's the hilarious true story about how Anthony Mackie almost wiped out as the Falcon.

Anthony Mackie says he "ate dirt" on the set of Civil War

As Mackie told EW, "The Marvel movies were the first time I had to an action thing. "My character'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."

With all of this to consider, Mackie prepared to take flight, intending to use Yakim's unique training to his advantage: "The first day — I think we were doing Civil War, and there's the scene where [Vision, played by Paul Bettany] shoots Rhodey [played by Don Cheadle] 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."

However, as Mackie recalls, his tactic didn't work. The actor continued, "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 ten feet. I have grass and mud all in my face. The crew is just dying laughing. Everybody is dying laughing."

How Mackie's classical training helped him learn to fly as the Falcon

As an actor dedicated to his craft, Mackie kept trying. Unfortunately, he just kept coming up short and wiping out over and over again. Even as he kept trying to fly, he just kept crashing before he got the hang of it. "It became a comedy of errors of every day when I had to land and how they were going to kill me," he recalled. "To this day: 'How do we crash him into something?'"

You might be wondering how Yakim's physical training helped Mackie get ready for this unique challenge. Apparently, it was invaluable for the experience. As Mackie remembered, "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."

As the recently-anointed holder of Captain America's shield after Cap (Chris Evans) vacated his position during the finale of Avengers: Endgame, we may still get to see Mackie put his training with Yakim to work in the MCU. In any case, as self-assured as Mackie now seems in the role of the Falcon, it's pretty funny to imagine his early stumbles.

You can stream Mackie's MCU films on Disney+, and his upcoming series alongside Sebastian Stan, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, is set to premiere in late 2020.