In a recent interview with Collider, Anthony Mackie discussed what attracted him to Timur Bekmambetov‘s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, currently in post-production, and his role in the Ruben Fleischer directed 1940’s cop crime drama, Gangster Squad, which he’s currently filming opposite Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone and others.
On his Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter role:
I’m a firm believer in the re-contextualization of history. I think what (author/screenwriter) Seth [Grahame-Smith] did with this book was re-contextualize history. That way, you have to go and look up Abraham Lincoln (played by Benjamin Walker) and find out that his best friend was a black dude, named William H. Johnson (played by Mackie), who died on their way back from Gettysburg. Lincoln paid with money out of his own pocket to have him buried at Arlington cemetery, and his headstone read, “William H. Johnson, citizen.” Did you know that? Now, don’t you want to read more about Abraham Lincoln?
If you have to add vampires to history to make, not even kids, but people – because we don’t even know our own history – interested, then I’m with that. I’ll do Martin Luther King, Eel Fisherman, if it will make you go back and read about Martin Luther King because he was a dynamic figure in our history.
On his role in The Gangster Squad:
I play Lieutenant Harris. Basically, the movie is set in the late 1940′s, and it’s based on Mickey Cohen (played by Sean Penn) and how he ran L.A., by the hook or by the crook. My character was promoted to Sergeant, and the first task he was given was something he didn’t really buy. It didn’t sit right with him, ethically. So, he handed in his promotion and decided he wanted to get the heroin off the streets in the black neighborhoods. So, he ran the streets in the black neighborhood with an iron fist. Josh Brolin’s character comes to me because he knows of my special skills, being a weapons expert and a guy who just has his ears and nose to the street, and asks me to be a part of the Gangster Squad. My character looks at it like, “If I can get Mickey Cohen, I can stop the heroin from coming to Compton.” So, I go after Mickey Cohen.
Interesting bits, I’m definitely looking forward to both of these, especially the Abe Lincoln project. I also hope he doesn’t get buried among the cast of The Gangster Squad, and is allowed to shine among the impressive ensemble.
We shall hear much more about these in the coming months…