For Anthony Mackie, things all started with a Detroit story.
“The funny thing is, 16 years ago, I was these guys, here in Detroit, where we were shooting 8 Mile,” Mackie tells ET at the world premiere of his upcoming film Detroit, referencing the excitement of his young cast mates on the red carpet. “We were a bunch of young, dumb kids having a good time. We were those guys. You know, I know what their next 15, 20 years is going to be like.”
That’s because in 2002, a then-24-year-old Mackie made a memorable appearance as Papa Doc in 8 Mile, Eminem’s semi-autographical story about a budding rapper living in a Detroit suburb. It was both his and the rapper’s feature film debut. While the film, directed by Curtis Hanson, largely left many to wonder what it meant for Eminem’s future in Hollywood, it set the path for Mackie’s stardom.
“If [Eminem] wants to, of course, he can become a movie star, but you know, he respects people's craft. That's what I love about Em,” Mackie said at the time. “The first day, he came up to me and let me know how much he respected the fact that I went to Juilliard and that this is my craft. Not too many people would do that.”
While Eminem went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song for 8 Mile, Mackie followed up with the Sundance hit Brother to Brother, before quickly becoming known for supporting roles in buzzy films, including Spike Lee’s She Hate Me, Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep’s remake of The Manchurian Candidate and Clint Eastwood’s 2004 Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby. The real game changer for Mackie, though, came with Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker. When the film won Best Picture over the box office juggernaut Avatar in 2010, Mackie and his co-stars Jeremy Renner and Brian Geraghty joyfully stormed the stage, knowing that a moment like that might not come again.
For more about Mackie's full circle moment, go to ETonline.com.