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Celebrity interview: Anthony Mackie is the “black friend” of Hollywood

Jenna Milly is a screenwriter. She co-created the TBS microseries "Gillian in Georgia." She earned her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Georgia and a M.F.A. in Screenwriting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Sh...

Real Steel is just the beginning

With a recent rise to fame, actor Anthony Mackie is reaping the benefits of being everybody's new best friend.

Keeping it real

Anthony Mackie

SheKnows: Your character in Real Steel is an underground boxing bookie. How did you like portraying a guy from the underworld?

Anthony Mackie: Finn is the type of guy who came from nothing. The underworld is his world. Everybody in any avenue of boxing has to start at a certain level and you work your way up to the main fight. Finn respects all bets from $1 to $1000, but if you come and throw $100,000 in my face… I'm going to walk you to this ATM to get your money. And, if you don't do that, I've got two big old black dudes. You know what I mean. You go out in LA. I don't know where they find these dudes, every place you go, it's like god damn, they're breeding 6'8'' black dudes in L.A. It's really weird.

SheKnows: Where are you from?

Anthony Mackie: New Orleans, Louisiana. 504 slow your roll. Born and raised. Lived in North Carolina for a year. Got out of there. Went to New York. Now I moved back to New Orleans three years ago.

On family and friends

SheKnows: Did you go back to New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina?

Anthony Mackie: My return to New Orleans was inspired by my family. I'm heavily family oriented. I loved them so much when I was away, now I hate them now that I'm close to them. [laughs] That's how family works, right? New Orleans is just a magical place, and I feel like as an actor, you have to be in a position where you can observe and participate in day-to-day activities. People. And not people who are in the business. But people that's like, "Yo, I need to keep my light bill on."

SheKnows: How does that help your acting career?

Anthony Mackie: When you're doing a movie and you're supposed to play this woman out in the woods and she's struggling to feed her kids, just putting on some bad accent won't do. I try to surround myself with real people, lawyers, garbage men, police, politicians… I have a friend who is a "narcotic representative." [laughs] That's just how I live my life. I try just to be a normal person and in New Orleans, I feel like that's the only place you can be where people allow you to be normal.

Chris Pratt and Anthony Mackie talk about what they want in women >>

ON WORKING WITH WOLVERINE

Anthony Mackie

SheKnows: What's it like working with Hugh Jackman?

Anthony Mackie: He's the actor's actor. It's not like he's walking around and he has to have a manicurist on set, because people do that. Or he has to have a personal guy or stuff. I mean, he has every right to be an asshole. He's Wolverine. If anybody has a right to be an asshole, it's Wolverine. But, he's not. He has this disarming quality about him.

SheKnows: What was it like to meet him?

Anthony Mackie: He comes up to me, my first day on set, and he's like, "Anthony Mackie," and I'm like, "Hi, Hugh Jackman." And he's like, "Sorry I missed your play last year." And I'm like, "How did you know I was in a play, Hugh Jackman? "Oh, I heard it was really good. And, how was it working with so-and-so?" "How do you know the people I work with, Hugh Jackman?" You know, he has that innate ability to make you feel like he's happy you're on the film as opposed to, you're lucky to be on a film with him.

NEXT PAGE: Holding his own with Hollywood's finest

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