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Anthony Mackie And Jamie Dornan Talk Synchronic, Falcon And The Winter Soldier - Exclusive Interview

Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan may not be strangers to sci-fi — or onscreen magic — but their 2020 film Synchronic puts a realistic spin on established expectations from the genre. Mackie is best known for his role as Sam "The Falcon" Wilson in the MCU, and fans have eagerly awaited his debut as Captain America ever since Steve Rogers chose Sam to carry on his legacy. But rather than going the costumed vigilante route in Synchronic, Mackie plays Steve Danube — a real-life paramedic hero instead of one with superpowers. 

When a new drug called synchronic leads to a slew of missing teenagers, Steve discovers its time-bending properties — and ends up going on a mission to save his best friend's daughter from the grips of the past. Dornan, who plays Steve's aforementioned best friend Dennis Dannelly, met his fair share of time-bending plot lines as the Huntsman on ABC's Once Upon a Time. However, the actor is most known for his role as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades trilogy. While Synchronic was initially slated to arrive in 2019, its focus on frontline workers and Steve's struggles with a life-threatening diagnosis made it that much more relatable in 2020. 

Looper spoke with Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan about all things Synchronic, as well as Mackie's upcoming MCU projects. Mackie also playfully cast Dornan in an MCU role that hits close to home. 

Everyone can use some escapism right now

Synchronic is a pretty intense film. What's the most important thing that you'd like fans to get out of it?

Jamie Dornan: Escapism is a big part of it, and there's a lot of big sort of ideas in there and big concepts, but I think they're delivered in a way that aren't... They actually open you up, [and] they get you thinking about the bigger picture. There's much more to it than a usual sci-fi movie for [your] money, I think. I think these characters are really grounded and relatable — and that's at the core of the movie. And I think if they weren't, the movie wouldn't work. And I think people will very much go on this journey with [the characters] and feel the pain that they feel. So hopefully, they get way more out of it than they would from a usual sci-fi movie expectation.


Jamie Dornan: [Mackie] agrees.

Anthony Mackie: You crushed that.

What drew you to your characters?

Anthony Mackie: Well, I really just wanted to do something unique and cool. I feel like with this character, the idea of fate catching up with him, the idea of how much time you've wasted, not achieving what you want to achieve, catches up with him. So that's something that's always present in my life. I don't think I'm a fatalist, but I definitely believe in the idea that I have to do everything I can with this day. I don't know if I'm going to have tomorrow.

Homeward bound

Did you have a favorite scene or moment on set?

Jamie Dornan: I really enjoyed doing that scene where we're just sort of broken down in the bar, and then we walk through that street. We're sort of passing the drink back, the brown paper bag, because that's probably the most relatable thing in the movie.

2020 in a GIF for sure.

Jamie Dornan: But I just really enjoyed the flow of that scene and [Mackie's] such a treat to work with. And I'd actually just been able to have those scenes where you just really get to talk — you really got to talk in a way that guys talk. It always feels very sort of rooted in the right way. And that was a really beautiful... Mackie, he's from New Orleans. That neighborhood was so beautiful around [where] we shot that. And this is one of those sort of really nice nights at work, where you just feel very privileged to be able to do this for a living with these kinds of people.

Anthony Mackie: Yeah.

[Mackie], do you have a favorite?

Anthony Mackie: We shot a lot on the River Bank and Algiers overlooking downtown New Orleans during the day and at night. And it was so funny cause you have these massive ships coming upriver and coming downriver. So we would literally just yell at each other, "Get the ship!"

It was a disaster, but a great time at that. And then what was that place called on the corner? It was still an open bar while we were shooting there. It was a disaster. It was the worst situation you could put the two of us in, in New Orleans, with these people who wanted to like, love Jamie. It was the worst situation you could ever imagine.

Double the Steves, double the heroism

[Mackie], your character's name is Steve in Synchronic, and soon, you're about to pick up where Steve Rogers left off as Captain America. How do the two heroic Steves compare, and what characteristics or lessons can you bring from each Steve to Sam's version of Cap?

Anthony Mackie: Woo! Uh...That was... Woo! Ahh, you took it! You took it!

Cap is always dealing with his past and the here and now and the future. His whole goal is to take what he learned in the past and what he left behind with Peggy to be in the present of how he can make the world a better place. If he's going to sacrifice, he's sacrificing for a reason. And I think it's the same thing with Steve [Danube]. Once Steve, in Synchronic, realizes how short life can be and how quickly it can be taken away from you, he gives. He devotes himself to the idea of teaching Jamie's character just how important the now, the family, the love is.

What were you most excited or nervous about when you heard that you were going to be Cap?

Anthony Mackie: I was most excited about my kids seeing me as Captain America.

Mackie dons a casting cap

[Dornan], is there any MCU character you'd like to take on?

Jamie Dornan: I don't know a lot about that world. [Mackie cackles] I have to say, I honestly don't. I'm terrible... I haven't, no... No. I am. No. Are you not called the Falcon or something?

Anthony Mackie: Yeah. But you could be Gambit. He's from New Orleans.

Wait, he could take on the Falcon, and then you can be Cap. Let's make it happen.

Jamie Dornan: Yeah.

Anthony Mackie: Nah, he couldn't. There's so much legacy in the Falcon that it would hurt.

[That's] true.

Jamie Dornan: Do you have the power? Was that like an official offer to be Gambit? I might've misread that.

Anthony Mackie: I would write that down for you. I think you would be a great Gambit. You even look like Gambit — you grow your hair out a little bit. Spike it up. Right?

Jamie Dornan: Okay. Let's do this. I am Gambit.

Anthony Mackie: Wouldn't he be a great Gambit?

For sure.

Anthony Mackie: You have to do a Louisiana Bayou accent, though.

Jamie Dornan: Easy. Give me five minutes.

And [Mackie], can you tease anything that we can expect from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?

Anthony Mackie: One day, it will be finished, and I'm very excited to see it.

That's a 2020 mood.

Anthony Mackie: It's 2020. One day.

What was the hardest scene to film?

Anthony Mackie: It's always hard to fly. So my first flying scene is kind of extreme. So my flying was very difficult.

The '80s era of Michaels

If you guys could jump into any time period in history or a specific event, which one would you pick? Definitely not the ice age, probably. [Laughs]

Jamie Dornan: January 2020. Stop that person [from] eating a bat. [Anthony cracks up] I'd be like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, you don't need the bat."

Anthony Mackie: You don't need that. Here's a sandwich. [...] I would pick the '80s.

The '80s? Okay! Good choice.

Yeah, we get the Showtime Lakers. We get Michael Jordan. I mean, we get Prince. We get Michael Jackson. The '80s were it. Now, cars sucked. So I'm going to have to drive a car from the '70s, but I would go back to the '80s.

For sure.

Jamie Dornan: How many cars have you bought today? When we were on set, Mackie would buy like six trucks a day.

What did you use them for?

Jamie Dornan: I'd be like, "What are you doing [on] your phone?" He goes, "Just buying a truck."

Anthony Mackie: There was one truck. It was one truck. Shut up. It was one truck.

Back to the '50s

Is there anything else you'd like to chat about Synchronic?

Jamie Dornan: Yeah, it's a great movie. Go see it safely. And maybe in your car in a drive-through, if you have that option.

Anthony Mackie: No, a drive-through is at a restaurant.

Jamie Dornan: Anthony, whatever. I mean drive-through at Wendy's. I don't know. Drive-in. Listen. We're a bit behind on this side of the world. We don't really have stuff like that.

Anthony Mackie: Drive-in, snuggle up, order some nachos and popcorn, and enjoy the movie. Think about it. It's the 1950s again. You get to go to a drive-in, sit in your car, put the top down under the stars, and watch a movie. You can't beat that.


Anthony Mackie: You know, bees aren't supposed to be able to fly because their wings are so small.

Jamie Dornan: This is why I love Mackie. I mean, you just learn these great little nuggets that carry you through life. It's hugely important information he has.

Anthony Mackie: I am a honey bee supporter.

Everyone should be.

Synchronic will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on January 26, and preorders are open now. Mackie's nacho, popcorn, and snuggle suggestions still apply — even on the couch. Fans can even stream it in the car for the full effect (preferably a '70s model). The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins streaming on Disney+ on March 19.