Red-Carpet Interview, Portrait: Anthony Mackie at 2011 Chicago International Film Festival

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CHICAGO – In just ten years, the resume of actor Anthony Mackie reveals an impressive career so far. The young actor has had major roles in “The Hurt Locker,” “Half Nelson,” “Notorious,” “Million Dollar Baby” and will be featured in the upcoming “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

Mackie was honored last Saturday, October 15th, at the Black Perspectives Tribute, part of the Chicago International Film Festival. He received the festival’s Artistic Achievement Award, and film highlights from his career were shown in a special presentation, which culminated in a conversation with the actor. was able to ask some questions to Anthony Mackie on the red carpet right before the event. This Exclusive Portrait was photographed by Joe Arce.

Anthony Mackie at the Black Perspectives Tribute, October 15, 2011
Anthony Mackie at the Black Perspectives Tribute, October 15, 2011
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for What is different for you when you play real-life people like Tupac or Nate Ruffin, are you more sensitive to representing real life versus fictional characters?

Anthony Mackie: Not at all. The sensitivity has to come in any character. When you look at a real life character, you can’t be that person, so that at the end of the day you grab the charisma, the narrative of their life and put it into what you’re trying to create as an actor. What kind of set atmosphere does Spike Lee have? What connection with him did you have when you were working on the character of Jack in ‘She Hate Me’?

Mackie: [Laughs] I’ve been a fan of Spike all of my life, I love him if he were a play cousin. If Spike calls me to do a Pepsi commercial, I’ll do it. Spike has groomed me and put me in a position so I can do the things I want to do today. In ‘She Hate Me,’ he just bred me and built me into the actor I want to be today. Since you’re looking back on the first part of your career tonight, was there anything you would have done differently?

Mackie: I would have enjoyed it more. I think in your early career you’re young and you’re scared about not having a career, but just a job, that you get pent up and afraid of just making everything work. So I just would have had a lot more fun being in my twenties. What is the description of the unusually titled ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ and what will be your role in it?

Mackie: It’s a film that is based on the book, and I play Lincoln’s best friend, who was a black man named William Johnson. Johnson and Lincoln basically go on a whirlwind adventure, slaying vampires.

The 47th Chicago International Film Festival is October 6th-20th, 2011. For more information and to purchase tickets, click on senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2011 Patrick McDonald,

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