Anthony Mackie Almost Died Shooting Captain America

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1Photo: Rob Latour/RexUSA.
Wanna talk dedication? Then you should chat up Anthony Mackie. No one can accuse him of not committing to a role, especially after his turn as The Falcon in the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The actor, who's known for more dramatic roles in flicks like The Hurt Locker and The Adjustment Bureau, was beyond psyched to join the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on their latest high-flying adventure. Even though he wasn't a comic-book fan growing up — his nerd tendencies veered more towards baseball cards and golf — he jumped at the chance to strap on The Falcon's robotic wings. But, it may have been a little more than he bargained for.

"I did one stunt myself, and I almost killed myself," Mackie told us when we met at the Beverly Hilton in L.A. "It was when we're fighting The Winter Soldier — when I fly in and bump him over. They put me in a four-point harness and they let me go, and I'm flying in and I look at Chris [Evans]. He has this look on his face like, 'You are going to die.' Let's just say I flew in and missed The Winter Soldier and hit a van. So, then I started tapping my stunt man in, and he did all the rest of it."

Of course, that little mishap certainly wasn't for lack of preparation. Without getting too fangirl on you, we'll just say that he's in very good shape. If you've had the pleasure of watching one of Mackie's films or, even better, seeing him in person, you know what we're talking about. The actor hit the gym hard to prep for this particular flick — and to keep up with none other than Captain America himself.

"When I found out I had this role, I had just come off Pain & Gain," he said. "I was going to the gym every day and eating right, so then I stepped it up to twice a day. But, then you show up and see Chris Evans, otherwise known as Captain Small Ass. I just thought, 'It makes no sense that your body looks like that!' So, then I had to work out even more...and now, here we are."

Aside from being a critically acclaimed actor, Anthony Mackie's quite the jovial character. He spent much of our time together cracking jokes, after he had a room full of exhausted reporters in stitches earlier in the day. Costar Chris Evans even described him as "pure energy," which got us wondering: Is he ever not smiling? As it turns out, this superhero is willing to own up to a few weak spots. First up? Sad movies.

"Bridges of Madison County — did you ever see that?" he asked us. "Every time she hangs the necklace on the window? Oh, I break down crying every time. It kills me. So does The Lion King. When Mufasa dies...kills me every time." We pried some more. What is his mortal enemy? "Spiders. That's it. I'm not afraid of anything. I'm not afraid of heights. I can do all kinds of stuff. But, spiders? Ugh. God."
1Photo: Courtesy of Marvel Studios.

If you find that more than a little endearing, we don't blame you. After Mackie spent the better part of the press day working his superstar charm, we got the feeling he's more than a little practiced with the ladies. But, he claims to be just as clueless as the next guy. "I tend not to have women bother me, or chase me, or want to talk to me," he said with a laugh. "But, this movie hasn't come out yet, so who knows how it will change. But, I live pretty low key." In fact, Mr. Mackie might be looking for a leg up in the dating game. "What Mel Gibson has in that movie What Women Want, that's the best superpower ever," he admitted. "Like, 'Oh, that's interesting, that is what you are trying to say.' That would be the best, it would be epic."

Somehow, we have a feeling that Anthony's romantic luck is about to change. Sure, he's no stranger to the limelight, but starring in a huge superhero franchise has the tendency to turn fame — and your lifestyle — up a few notches. He's about to embark on a worldwide press tour for Captain America, where he's sure to bust out a few hijinks with his costar, and real-life buddy, Chris Evans. In fact, the night the two first met is a long-standing legend among the cast. We did our best to pry the story out of Mackie, but he remained tight lipped.

"We were at one of those Golden Globes parties together," he admitted. "We had just done a movie together, but we weren't in any scenes together so we didn't meet. Chris came up to me and mentioned the movie, and four hours later...we got into trouble. It was epic. Let's just say it was a classic Evans and Mackie night." Suddenly, we wished we had that mind-reading skill, too.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 4.