Anthony Mackie Talks ‘Outside The Wire’ Franchise Hopes And The Marvel of Netflix
If you get serious 90s action movie vibes from Netflix’s latest sci-fi feature, Outside the Wire, you’re not wrong.
“The one thing I loved about it was the fact that one of the conversations we had with the director, Mikael Håfström, was that we grew up loving the action movies where once you get on a train, you’re on until the movie ends,” enthused Anthony Mackie. “It definitely feels like a 90s action film. Ever since the start of my career, I’ve always wanted to be Wesley Snipes. I felt like this is the perfect Wesley Snipes movie.”
However, the blockbuster genre of movies of the 80s and 90s that made international movie stars out of people such as Snuples, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and others are often looked down on or dismissed out of hand.
It’s weird because it’s one of the platforms that Hollywood was built on,” Mackie mused. “If you look at Tommy Lee Jones, if you look at Harrison Ford, if you look at all these huge movie stars, these are the type of movies they made, that people grew up enjoying, and I’ve always wanted to do one. As a kid, and sometimes as an adult, you don’t want to think, and you don’t want to be slapped in the face with information. Sometimes you just want to chill out and enjoy a movie for entertainment.”
Outside the Wire stars Mackie as Leo, an android military officer teamed with a drone pilot, played by Damson Idris, and given the job of stopping a global catastrophe. It was filmed in Hungary.
For me, the biggest challenge was shooting outside the country, shooting in Europe. They do things very differently than the way we do here in the US,” the actor and producer recalled. “It was a case of adapting to that. When you go to Europe, your crew are all from different countries, so you have a language barrier. You have to try and understand what they mean and what they say. Everybody on the crew was phenomenal as far as making sure we were safe,. Once we got past the language thing, for all of us, it was just about having fun making the movie.”
“We shot it in Budapest, and the group of people we worked with were so accommodating, so nice, and afforded us the opportunity to not only enjoy our work environment but also to enjoy Budapest. It was a great working experience. One day on set, it was actually for my birthday, I showed up, and everybody’s dress in Captain America gear, a hat, or a t-shirt. I finally noticed at the end of the day, and it was just the nicest thing, the greatest feeling. There was a great camaraderie on set with everybody, and the whole idea of being a star or celebrity never came into play.”
As Falcon in the multibillion-dollar Marvel Avengers movies and the upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Mackie is no stranger to franchises. He’s hopeful that Outside the Wire could be another.
“The whole idea was for this to be a franchise,” he explained. “He’s such a cool character, and it’s such a fascinating world, especially with it being in the not so distant future. You can have many different spin-offs and ideas that come along with this with both lead characters. I equate Leo, my character, very much to the Winter Soldier in Captain America. Every time there’s a situation, they spin him back up to handle the crime or the situation. You have to inform him of what’s happened, what he’s missed, what’s going on, and then you send him out to save the day.”
“It can go into the far, far future, or it an literally take place at any point along the timeline. There have been so many incarnations of Leo, You can go back to his backstory and show the very first one, who he was and how he was created to be a supersoldier of sorts.”
Outside the Wire gives Mackie his second producer credit, his third if you include his executive producer role on another Netflix movie, OI. He’ll get his fourth on Signal Hill, which is in pre-production. Those certainly won’t be his last.
“I think that everyone’s desire in the business, to get to the point where they can start developing material. My goal is not only to develop material for myself because I think that should be told, one of which I’m working on,” Mackie revealed. “It’s a script that I can direct, it’ll be my directorial debut, and it’s about a little girl curing civil rights times. I probably won’t even be in it. I’ll just be the producer and director. That story about that little girl, being a true story, definitely needs to be told. If me being in a position that I’m in the business gives me the chance to tell that story. I’m going to tell it.”
Could it lead him back to the stage? It’s medium that he has previously called his first love and one that has been decimated by the pandemic?
“I was supposed to be on Broadway in 2020, but because of COVID and everything shutting down, we had to push out the production. I hope it will still happen,” Mackie said. “My goal is hard with Broadway because I live in New Orleans. With Broadway, the only day off you have is Monday, so basically, you’re committing six to eight months without seeing your family because I wouldn’t be able to leave on Sunday night, and I’d need to fly back Monday morning. God forbid something happens if something goes wrong, and I missed the show. So, it’s the negotiation. Once you have kids, it kind of cuts into your ability to do a Broadway play because it’s so time-consuming and taxing.”
Mackie has given some serious consideration to setting up his own production company, and the home of that could well be where his heart is, New Orleans.
“That’s what I intend to do. A lot of the business in Atlanta came from New Orleans because we got rid of our tax credit. New Orleans is the smallest big city on Earth,” he explained. “A city like Atlanta, which is millions of people, a city like New Orleans which is like 400,000 people, they can’t compare financially. My goal is to develop projects that I can shoot here in New Orleans. I would always joke and say, ‘I want to be the Dick Wolf of New Orleans.’ The history of New Orleans is so deep and so rich that it would make for amazing television. My goal in the next two to three years is to bring it to fruition.”
Another treasured jewel in Mackie’s career crown is his relationship with Netflix. His love for the streamer is based on some very simple, clear, and honest factors.
“Well, the thing that I love about Netflix is they aren’t racist. I mean, if you look at Netflix, their gauntlet runs the entire spectrum from Black, White, Latino, Asian, and it has been that way since the beginning,” he enthused. “They’re literally producing content for every market, no matter what the race, no matter what the creed or color. I think that’s amazing, and it should be a blueprint that other companies should follow. Netflix makes a huge amount of money, and they’re creating an exorbitant amount of content. I find myself, at times, watching shows and movies on Netflix that are in completely different languages and from the other side of the world, and I am all in.”
“There’s no way I wold have watched The Queen’s Gambit if it wasn’t on Netflix. Imagine a black dude from New Orleans sitting on his couch watching the show about a white girl playing chess? That’s the spectrum that they deal with, and I love it,” Mackie laughed. “I love the fact that they have so many women in positions of power, so many people of color in positions of power. It gives you a diverse platform that you can just scroll through and watch whenever you want. I hated anime until I got Netflix, but now me and the boys watch anime all the time. I love the fact that they’re so diverse. That’s what the world, ans specifically this country, needs.”
Outside the Wire lands on Netflix on Friday, January 15, 2021.
Original article at Forbes.
This article has been reproduced for archive purposes.