"The magazine came out and it's interesting how the conversations have changed, which is surprising to me," he confessed to BlackVoices.com, while sitting in an empty conference room at the AMC Gallery Place in Washington, DC.
The 31-year-old actor admitted that he did not recognize the weight that the magazine carried when he was first presented with the opportunity to be featured.
"When my publicist told me they got me for the cover of Vanity Fair for the Hollywood edition I didn't know what it meant. Looking at it now it was a monumental step in the course of my career. I want to be 70 or 80 like an Anthony Hopkins or Morgan Freeman and look back at a body of work instead of getting one or two jobs and trying to overcome the idea of just being an actor instead of being an artist. It's been amazing. Every day I tell people that I don't want you to overlook my race. I don't want you to look at me as something different than what I am. When you look at me I don't want you to like me in spite of being a Black male. I want you to include me because of who I am, that being a Black male. It's been funny from both the Black and White perspective; from the everyday perspective and the Hollywood perspective. Everyone has an opinion so I try to put it out there and let it be what it is," he expressed.
The New Orleans-bred talent was the first Black actor to be featured in nearly a decade on the cover of the Hollywood Issue.
Despite having starred in films like 'Million Dollar Baby,' 'The Hurt Locker,' 'Notorious' and 'The Adjustment Bureau,' Mackie, like many Black actors, has a face people know even when they can't remember his name.
"I get mistaken for one of my closest friends, Jamie Hector who was on 'The Wire,'" he laughed. "Literally every day someone stops me and asks me for my autograph and if they can take a picture with me for being on 'The Wire.'"
Though Hollywood recognized Mackie's value by including him in the Vanity Fair issue, the Obie Award winner does feel that the recent Black-out during this past award show season was disturbing.
"It's frustrating, but not for the reason of not having the representation. I think we're at a point where we need to start making our own movies. I think there are enough stories out there that we should be telling those stories. I think in the early 90's we had the opportunity to make our own movies and we got complacent. If you go back and watch 'Love Jones' and 'Love and Basketball' or 'The Brothers,' they were great movies and they represented us. 'Boyz N The Hood' and 'Juice' represented us. We made those movies and everybody just got lazy. It's no reason that the people who made those movies shouldn't still be making movies. [Martin] Scorsese didn't stop after his first movie. James Cameron didn't stop after 'Titanic' so why is it that the people who represent us and tell our stories just don't exist anymore. They're out there living in LA writing. They're making movies; they're just not making the movies that represent us. That's what frustrates me because I feel like you have an entire new crop of young talent and they have not only no one to work with but they don't have any material to work on. You can't say we don't have the money or the opportunities because White people are doing it. If you look at what Judd Apatow is doing, he's shown us how to go out and take our ideas, put them on a page and make it. Ben Affleck made 'Gone Baby Gone' and 'The Town' because he couldn't get cast as an actor. I think it's about time that we as Black Hollywood stop talking about what people aren't giving us and get up off our ass and start making the movies that we want to make," he offered.
If ever there was a Black Oscars, Mackie said he knows exactly what his top five films would be.
"My five best pictures would be 'Harlem Nights,' 'Claudine,' 'Uptown Saturday Night,' 'Boomerang' and 'Love Jones.' The alternate would be 'Love and Basketball.' My favorite of all time just simply because of the soundtrack, the movie and the story along with Nia Long and Larenz Tate's relationship would be 'Love Jones.' That was just a quintessential beautiful movie. Ghetto aside everything about it was perfect," he closed.
- Anthony Mackie: Poised to Be Hollywood's Next Black Leading Man
- George Tillman Jr.: Eager to See a Resurgence in Black Films
- Anthony Mackie, Rashida Jones Among Blacks Chosen For Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue
- Anthony Mackie: Actor Tackles Tupac In Biggie Flick 'Notorious'