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What You Probably Never Knew About Anthony Mackie

Undoubtedly, Anthony Mackie is on his way to becoming one of the biggest names in Hollywood. After making his film debut opposite Eminem in 2002's "8 Mile," the actor landed some significant roles in blockbusters such as "Million Dollar Baby" and "The Hurt Locker." Additionally, Mackie has delivered outstanding performances as iconic leaders of the Black community when portraying Tupac Shakur in "Notorious" and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in "All the Way." Inarguably, Anthony Mackie is best known for his placement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After flying into the MCU as Sam Wilson, better known as the Falcon, in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," Mackie was a pivotal member of "The Avengers" through multiple outings. Most notably was the passing of the proverbial mantle when Captain America (Chris Evans) gave him the shield in "Avengers: Endgame." This moment transitioned Mackie into becoming the next actor to portray the headlining role of Captain America in the MCU. A rebranding later was confirmed through the Disney+ series "Falcon and the Winter Soldier."

If Chris Evans' meteoric rise to stardom as "The First Avenger" is any indication, Anthony Mackie is about to become one of the best-known actors of our time. Before this actor elevates to the peak of celebrity fame, there are some surprising facts we bet you didn't know. Keep reading if you want to learn more about the next Captain America. Some of these facts will probably make you love the actor even more than you already did.

He has a fear of heights

It probably couldn't be any more ironic. The one Avenger whose sole ability is to soar through the sky and fight enemies in the air is portrayed by a man with a deathly fear of heights. Mackie is by no means ignorant of this inconsistency either. In a 2014 interview with ComicBookMovie.com, the actor admitted to his dread and openly talked about the amount of fear involved while being hoisted up on wires. His first MCU appearance as the Falcon in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" put his fears to the test, as Mackie was tasked with doing high-flying stunts, including jumping off a bridge.

Thankfully, the dedicated actor pushed through his fears and delivered multiple sky-high performances throughout his eight-plus-year tenure in the MCU. His bravado has paid off, as Sam Wilson has become a beloved character within the comic book film franchise. Perhaps future performances as Captain America will keep Mackie a bit more grounded.

He loves Shakespeare and graduated from Juilliard

Anthony Mackie was by no means a rookie actor when landing his breakthrough role as Papa Doc in "8 Mile." Now a high-paid actor, Mackie recalled his origins in a 2021 interview with Sharp Magazine, reminiscing on his first performance in a second-grade puppetry play that ended in a standing ovation. Hooked from day one, Mackie pursued his love of performing by moving from New Orleans at age 17 to attend the world-renown Julliard School in New York City. Before graduating, Mackie delivered his first performance as Tupac Shakur in an off-Broadway play — a role he would later reprise in a big-budget Hollywood feature.

To this day, Mackie credits his acting chops to the versatility gained from his high-level theatre education. The actor retains his love for off-screen performing and has made multiple appearances in "Shakespeare in the Park" productions, as recently as 2009. Mackie reaffirmed his love for the classics by quoting Shakespeare during his 2021 appearance on the "Hot Ones" YouTube series.

He dreams of having his own HGTV series

Speaking of Anthony Mackie's 2021 interview on the First We Feast YouTube channel, the actor divulged some further interesting facts while surviving the hot wing challenge. When touching on the point that Mackie is a highly skilled carpenter, he revealed his dream of wanting to host his own HGTV home improvement series.

Anthony Mackie's father was a professional carpenter who owned and operated his own roofing business, Mackie Roofing. So, it is no surprise that the New Orleans native picked up a few tricks from his father. In fact, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Anthony spent much of his time constructing an outdoor kitchen attached to his home, complete with some stylish trimmings.

Combine that love of carpentry with Mackie's addiction to watching HGTV, and a dream of his own series was born. Truthfully, his idea for a series sounds like a winner. The A-list actor wants to combine the best parts of a cooking show, a home improvement show, and a wellness series into one HGTV primetime headliner.

He married his childhood sweetheart

Everybody loves a story about childhood romance blossoming into love and marriage. However, it might surprise most fans to know that Anthony Mackie married his own childhood sweetheart and long-time girlfriend, Sheletta Chapital. The pair, both natives of New Orleans, have known each other since they were each 7 years old. Although the couple's relationship was on-and-off for many years, eventually, they tied the knot in 2014. Locking vows in front of 150 close friends and family members in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, the couple now have four children together.

Unfortunately, not everything lasts, and Mackie and Chapital quietly divorced in 2018. The amicable separation saw the pair share joint custody of the children, and there never seemed to be any bad blood between the two. The four-year marriage is Anthony Mackie's first and only, with no other reports of a significant other in Mackie's life.

He loves to go fishing

A significant part of Mackie's portrayal of Sam Wilson in "Falcon and the Winter Soldier" revolved around the hero rebuilding his family's fishing boat. Well, some factors of real-life perhaps played a part in this development, as Mackie, himself, is an avid fisherman. This fact may not be that shocking considering the proud heritage of fishing that comes from Mackie's hometown of New Orleans.

There have been many reports of the actor going on impromptu fishing trips throughout the filming of his movies. However, Mackie's affinity to grill up a fresh catch is now a story of legend from the sets of "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame". Again, referring back to Mackie's 2021 "Hot Ones" appearance, he shared his stories of life on the set of one of the largest grossing movies ever made. Aside from grilling up his catches for the cast and crew, Mackie is proud to share his most prized catch was from the lakes and ponds right there on set.

He originally auditioned for a very different MCU role

Only time will tell if Anthony Mackie is remembered more for his role as the Falcon or as Captain America. However, it might shock most fans to know that neither of these iconic roles were in Mackie's sights when he first auditioned for the MCU. Admittedly, Mackie wasn't a big fan of comic books growing up, but as he stated in a 2020 Vanity Fair interview, he had a goal of becoming a superhero as soon as he started his acting career. As such, he was active in his attempts at landing a role in the MCU long before he got the call to put on the wings.

Mackie's first audition, as reported in a 2019 Men's Health interview, was for a role as unexpected as they come. With "Iron Man 3" in early production, Mackie tried out to become the villain of the feature, the Mandarin. Ultimately, the part went to legendary actor Ben Kingsley, and it would be hard to imagine anyone else in his spot. However, Mackie's acting chops and persistence paid off in due course, as he got the call to become Sam Wilson in "Captain America: Winter Soldier" soon after.

His friendship with Sebastian Stan

One of the most lovable bromances in Hollywood is the budding relationship between Mackie and MCU co-star Sebastian Stan, aka the Winter Soldier. On their multiple press tours together, the pair often act like an old married couple, jokingly mocking one another and gifting each other nicknames like "Mack Attack" and "Sexy Seabass." And throughout their many MCU outings together, the actors' friendship has blossomed as much offscreen as it has onscreen.

However, fans may be shocked to know that this powerhouse plutonic couple was not always as friendly with one another as they are today. According to a Men's Health profile on Stan, the boisterous Mackie and the much quieter Stan did not exactly hit it off when they first met on the set of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Thankfully, a bond began to form when the two spent night after night together on a press tour for that same film. Mackie's persistence to be friends paid off after one particular evening when the future Captain America stole his co-star's phone and wallet so that Stan wouldn't be able to return to his hotel room and was forced to stay out and party.

He was inspired and mentored by Don Cheadle

The MCU has gifted Anthony Mackie with the opportunity to work with an incredible roster of actors. Honing his craft alongside some of the other biggest names in Hollywood has certainly been a valuable experience. Nevertheless, there is one MCU co-star who has been a significant role model throughout Mackie's entire career — Don Cheadle.

The erstwhile Falcon was quick to exclaim his appreciation for Don Cheadle in a 2019 interview on The IMDb Show when reminiscing about the "Avengers: Endgame" all-star lineup. Without hesitation, Mackie gives credit to Cheadle as the reason he started acting. Cheadle's portrayal as Earl "The Goat" Manigault in the 1996 film "Rebound" is one of Mackie's all-time favorite performances. Additionally, one of Mackie's first acting jobs out of school was as an understudy to Cheadle in an off-Broadway presentation of "Topdog/Underdog." Add those facts to Mackie's appreciation of Cheadle's acting intelligence and delivery, and Sam Wilson has his own hero right there on the Avengers team.

He watches tons of Golden Girls reruns

The non-stop physical training and tough guy bravado that comes with his superhero performances might make you doubt that Anthony Mackie has seen much of the 1985 sitcom "The Golden Girls." However, the fact of the matter is that Mackie is a gargantuan "Golden Girls" fan. During an appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Mackie shared the unprecedented amount of "Golden Girls" reruns that he consumes. After a long day of filming, the MCU's second Captain America loves to unwind by watching five-and-a-half hours of Hallmark Channel content. While he might also include a couple of episodes of "Frasier" in the mix, you cannot put it past the actor to watch eight back-to-back episodes of "The Golden Girls" on any given night. 

Always a fan of the classics, Mackie recognizes Betty White as "one of the most talented women." He was even lucky enough to fanboy out when meeting Betty White before her passing. Hilariously, the seasoned comedian apparently told Mackie that he made her wish she was "40 years younger," which left the MCU star feeling absolutely flattered. Aside from White, Mackie has also admitted to fanboying over Lionel Richie, happily attending multiple concerts performed by the famous musician.

He originally wanted to become a mechanical engineer

Before attending Juilliard, co-starring alongside Eminem, and becoming an MCU superstar, Anthony Mackie intended to become a very average professional. His choice career path was in mechanical engineering — specifically, he wanted to be an oil refinery engineer. As Mackie explained in an interview with L'Officiel Monte Carlo, he very much looked up to his two older brothers, who went to law school and engineering school, respectively. Young Anthony Mackie pursued an education in engineering by studying thermodynamic fluid propulsion with Mobil Oil, mostly because he didn't believe he was intelligent enough for law school.

If you didn't know about Mackie's ambition to become an engineer, don't take it too hard. During their appearance on LADbible TV, Sebastian Stan had no clue about his good friend's former dream. In fact, Stan stumbled through a couple of educated guesses about Mackie's first career ambition, incorrectly suggesting Mackie once aspired to be a butcher and a fisherman. Putting his foot in his mouth even further, Stan didn't even know that Mackie's favorite football team belonged to his hometown of New Orleans.

He once had his own music label and a bar in Brooklyn

Between engineering, fishing, carpentry, and acting, Mackie makes a case for being a modern-day renaissance man. However, his long list of jobs and experiences doesn't end there. The "Altered Carbon" star has made at least a couple more surprising career moves in his time.

The actor followed the same path as many other celebrities in 2011 when he opened his own bar, NoBar, in Brooklyn. However, unlike some other celebs who've dipped a toe in the restaurant industry, Mackie personally served drinks as one of the spot's own bartenders. Further, the menu of NoBar was loaded with recipes from Chef Anthony Mackie himself. Unfortunately, NoBar shut its doors for reasons unexplained.

Probably the most surprising experience on Mackie's resume would be his time owning a record label. As explained during an interview on "The Late Late Show with James Corden" in 2021, Mackie and his cousin once started their own label, Take Four Records. Mackie jokingly pointed out that the label was aptly named because they "didn't have enough money, so you only provided four takes." Take Four Records produced a local music style known as "bounce music," which remixed popular songs with hip-hop beats and the celebratory sounds of New Orleans.

He was not sure about portraying Captain America

The decision for Anthony Mackie to become Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon, was unanimous between all parties, and the actor has been a faithful participant in the MCU ever since. However, the biggest move of his character thus far had Mackie second-guessing those in charge. In a 2021 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mackie admitted his initial apprehension about taking on the iconic mantle of Captain America. When speaking about "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier," he went as far as to say, "It was one of the first things about Marvel that I've been a part of that I've questioned, and I wasn't sure that I actually wanted to do."

Thankfully, Mackie felt reassured by the hands producing his Disney+ series. With audiences getting their first taste of Sam Wilson in the red, white, and blue outfit, Mackie says the adventure of becoming Captain America has been "much more pleasant" than he anticipated. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the fourth film in the "Captain America" series has a star as well as a director, with Julius Onah of "The Cloverfield Paradox" fame slated to helm the project.