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Anthony Mackie: The ‘Pain & Gain’ interview

PG-33-600Anthony Mackie was discovered after receiving rave reviews for playing Tupac Shakur in the off-Broadway play "Up Against the Wind." He's established himself as a solid on-broadway performer and has pocketed an impressive film career.

For Mackie, 2013 is proving very productive, with the horror thriller "Vipaka," the coming of age drama "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete," the crime thriller "Runner, Runner" and "Bolden" being among his offerings. Here, he talks about his new movie, "Pain & Gain," a fact-based crime comedy co-starring Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg.

Kam Williams: Hi Anthony, thanks for another interview.

Anthony Mackie: What's going on, my man?

KW: Nothing much, brother. What an impressive resume you've compiled for someone so young: "The Hurt Locker," "The Manchurian Candidate," "Notorious," "We Are Marshall," "Half Nelson," "8 Mile," "American Violet," "The Adjustment Bureau," "Gangster Squad," "Night Catches Us," etc. ...

AM: Thanks a lot, Kam. I've been very fortunate to land all the projects that I've done. I have a great team of people working with me.

PG-08-600KW: So, what interested you in "Pain & Gain?"

AM: It was the script. I was really psyched about Michael (director Michael Bay) doing a story with three-dimensional characters like these who you could real delve into to see what makes them tick.

KW: A Michael Bay flick with both that trademark action as well as some complex character development. It felt almost like I was watching a new genre of film.

AM: That's what made me so happy about it. When he explained to me what he was trying to do with this movie, it was something that I felt was right up my alley and that I wanted to be a part of.

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: "How would you describe your character, Adrian? Are you anything like him in real life?"

AM: (Chuckles) That's funny! No, I'm not anything like him at all. The thing that I enjoyed about doing Adrian was that he never backed down. He admired Daniel (played by Mark Wahlberg) so much and just wanted his friend to succeed. And he also wanted to achieve The American Dream.

KW: I saw you on several talk shows over the last couple of weeks, and between being pumped up from the weightlifting and the way you trash-talked like you were shot out of a cannon, you seemed almost like a different person, or as if you were still in character.

AM: (LOL) I really enjoyed this character and talking about him. I'm lucky because I get to do projects I like and believe in. And it's exciting to see people react positively to your work, to something you've invested so much time and so much of yourself into.

KW: How much time did you devote to the exercise regimen to get yourself in such great shape?

AM: About four months. I worked out for six weeks before we started shooting, and then every day on location. To get in shape like that involves a whole lifestyle change. It's not just going to the gym. It's also eating and sleeping differently, and spending your time differently.

KW: I heard that you and Mark Wahlberg even trained together.

AM: Yeah, we worked out together every day, once we arrived on set. I think that's why we subsequently became such good friends. He appreciated the fact that I wasn't taking this opportunity lightly, since he's not the type of person who takes the stature he's achieved for granted. He's a leader and a hard worker. He liked my dedication to the project, which was reflected in how I accompanied him daily to the gym to push it as hard as we could.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles says: "Thanks for the wonderful performance in "A Behanding in Spokane. You're obviously comfortable on stage and also doing great work on screen. How do you approach each as an actor?"

AM: First, let me say thank you, Harriet. It's great that you saw and enjoyed that play. Stage and screen are completely different. Stage is like a marathon. It's more of a physical muscle because you have to do eight shows a week. With a movie, you do it once, it's in the can, and you move on.

On the stage, you have to recreate that moment every night. You have to figure out a way, mentally, to find yourself in the same place every performance. You have to believe that whatever's happening in that world is actually happening every night, whereas with film you just have to believe it once before you move on. So, stage is really difficult but, at the same time, it's much more gratifying than film. So many people have a hand in your screen performance whereas, when you step on the stage, no one tells you what you can and can't do. ...

KW: Larry Greenberg says: "It seems to me like the film actually has a message about the growing distance between classes in America. Or am I asking too much from a spring blockbuster?

AM: I think the movie deals more with The American Dream, and the skewed perception of it in our generation. The idea used to be that you worked hard to achieve more. Now, it's, "Do as little as you can to achieve as much as you can." ...

KW: Thanks again for the time, Anthony, and best of luck with the film.

AM: Thanks a lot, Kam, I really appreciate it.

(To see a trailer for Pain & Gain, visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEQ8jyvmYtw )

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