by Chesley Turner
We all know that the side-effects of overnight Hollywood success have overwhelmed many a young actor. So what does it take to maintain your footing when Tinseltown comes pounding on your door? Anthony Mackie is part metropolitan movie star, part southern family man: even as he advances through the ranks of “ones to watch,” he’s determined not to forget his roots. The contradiction is building his character, and helping him to handle success with poise.
A non-conventional bi-coastal resident jetting between the Gulf Coast and Mid-Atlantic, Mackie has an enduring love for both North and South. “I love New York. In fact, I don’t find New York and New Orleans to be very different until you’re out of the boroughs.” Both cities are big places, full of culture and sights and sounds. “So if you were to, like, do everything in New York at a slower pace, it’d be just like New Orleans. I mean, New Orleans was the New York of America up until 1915. New York is great when I want to be a city slicker, and if I need to be cool and everyday laid back, I prefer New Orleans. The quality of life is chilled-out, relaxed living. But New York, New Orleans; they’re both so much fun.”
While we’re talking about character dichotomies and North-meet-South, we might as well bring up politics. Mackie has a thing or two to say about the current state of the Union. “The debt crisis is so funny because everybody is on television talking about it, but not one network has explained it, described it, defined it. When you look at it, Reagan basically made a new debt ceiling every few months. But these politicians are making things more dramatic than we ever imagined. It’s like Housewives of Washington,” he jokes, “but no fun to watch, and with bad toupees. Turn on C-SPAN. They make the other Housewives look like normal, coherent women.” As for the current administration’s role in economics, there’s no mistaking Mackie’s position. “If Bush got 8 years, then every other President should have 16. It’s the quintessential Bill Clinton Question: Look at yourself. Are you in a better situation? I feel like we’re much better. Obama stopped the bleeding. And now we have to heal ourselves. We need to live within our means and tax who needs to be taxed.” Mackie sites the under-utilized revenue stream of international commerce. Revamping the taxation of imports, he says, could result in billions of dollars worth of national income. “Are we better off? Of course. Do we have a long way to go? Yes. Does any Republican candidate have what it takes to move us forward? Hell no.” So what do American voters need to do to gain a better idea of what’s what in American politics? “What they need to do is just read.”