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Anthony Mackie Dishes On Rappers Becoming Actors

AnthonyMackie_VArticleI don’t go to a hospital and let the janitor perform surgery on me, you know what I mean? But if you look at what Ice Cube, LL Cool J, and Queen Latifah have been able to do, it’s ridiculous to say their talents should be disregarded because they started out in music. At the same time, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Sam Jackson these days, because young actors wouldn’t be given those roles now. The film business is destroying itself by not breeding talent or nurturing young actors—and that’s why all movies suck now.

Anthony Mackie sharing his concerns about raptors (rapper/actors) with Details magazine in its August issue.

Of course, as I’m sure we all remember, Samuel L. Jackson was maybe the first actor to vocalize his frustrations with raptors in the industry, and he was even more venomous than Mackie is here.

*Kanye Shrug* I feel their pain, I really do. As a creative myself, I understand. However, I also recognize that age old saying about hating the game, and not the player. It’s a cutthroat business. Everyone is trying to snatch their own little piece of the pie; and if opportunities present themselves, I can’t really knock anyone for taking advantage! It just means that the rest of us have to find workarounds, whatever they might be.

And I would argue that the reason why movies suck isn’t because rappers are becoming actors. They’re merely a result of something bigger: when number-crunchers took over studio filmmaking, and decisions on whether to make a film depended chiefly on mathematical formulas. I’d blame Jaws before I blamed raptors.

So it goes… :\

18 comments to Anthony Mackie Dishes On Rappers Becoming Actors

  • Zeus

    Which is why I’m glad bootleggers are ripping the studio “number-crunchers” a new asshole! :)

  • How can you blame Jaws? It was very well made film. But I know what you mean.

    I also agree about the number crunching. The problem is much bigger than rappers being actors.

    It’s similar to the problem with government. In most cases, we the people are responsible for voting these people in office. Well, we also vote with our dollars.

    And so the story goes.

  • illy

    Wows did you say Jaws? wow shadow and act finally getting to the root of the know I rocks with you guys

  • Jug

    I agree to a point. Creatively, it IS the reason why so many of these movies aren’t good. But as a business model, it makes perfect sense, especially why rappers cross over into films much easier than country artists or pop stars or rockers. It’s because the type of movies most rappers were being used for (gangster, urban, drug) they have already “created” a ready made character. It’s not 50 Cent, the Nanny or 50 Cent the dad trying to reconnect with his long lost daughter. No, it’s 50 Cent, the bad ass gangster that’ll shoot you ass quick for messing with his money. So mix that with a ready made audience of adoring hip-hop fans & you have a recipe for straight to DVD success.
    Rappers like Cube, Latifah, Will Smith (even Ice-T) have artistic qualities that transcend their work as rappers, that’s why they’re successful as actors (same way some singers can sing rock AND R&B, but most can’t).
    But as far as hating the player, no…it’s ALL about hating the game. The game not having enough foresight to know the industry will do itself in with an inferior product. And as far as Black cinema, that’s what happened. You become complicit in the ghetto-ization of your own product (remember UPN?). That’s why you don’t have many movies anymore with rappers in them, because that business model fell apart & thus less movies full of Black actors, until the rise of Tyler Perry.
    In non-ethnic situations, it can be compared to the onslaught of movies with actors under the age of 25 who may or may not (probably not) have much skill, playing characters that we as audience members are asked to believe that they have such worldly knowledge & experiences to handle the more mature situations they’re placed in. Without a bunch of crap blowing up or CGI monsters, we don’t buy it, the movie tanks & the movies (and the actors themselves) become disposable. I ask you, who are the “iconic” young actors & actresses (& directors) that we will call the old guard in 10-15 years like Denzel, DeNiro, Spike Scorcese, Streep, Poitier, etc. List is pretty slim…

  • writer

    Zeus you do realize that the bootleggers ripping the studios a new one, actually hurt people like us who are trying to get films with black folks made.

  • Cali

    I now love Anthony for speaking his mind, but rapper turned actors are only PART of the reason films are sucking wind these days. Still, what he’s saying is valid!

  • blakdiamon

    Well, Anthony Mackie seems to speak him mind. I remember him saying in an interview that studios make bad movies like Twilight while promoting The Hurt Locker. Both of those films were distributed by Summit which was why I was so shocked.

    Isn’t it it Ironic that he’s saying this and played Tupac, a rapper that studied acting in a performing arts school.

  • No, it is NOT ironic that he played Tupac. That is the point! Tupac STUDIED acting in a very well respected performing arts high school, I might add. So, he got to the game via music, but he was prepared for the cross over because he TRAINED!!!!

    Sorry…a little testy about this subject. Probably because I just watched The Secret Life of Bees. Lord help us all if anyone thinks that movie was a showcase of good acting.

  • You are right, blak….just had some tea. Feeling much more balanced! Peace…

  • NothingButAMan

    It all comes down to commitment to the craft, the role at hand AND understanding the game. I understand the frustration that trained actors feel, once upon a time I wanted to act professionally myself. But most theater/acting school kids are taught in an environment that gives them a false sense of entitlement to success just because they may have some talent and love for the craft. But by now, everyone should know that you have to work the business end of things as well if you want to move forward. The time and energy spent being mad at a rapper or pop diva for taking a role could’ve been a moment for you to look at yourself and think about how to step YOUR game up.

  • AccidentalVisitor

    Major props to Mackie.

    I don’t want to keep bashing rappers because they aren’t the only problem or even the biggest problem. But it still irks me that a black actor like Michael Jai White who should have been an action star couldn’t get big roles but dudes like DMX and Ice Cube were beig handed leads in mainstream action flicks. Ridiculous.

  • Samuel

    “I don’t go to a hospital and let the janitor perform surgery on me, you know what I mean?”

    The analogy is off. It would be more like a vetinarian doing ER surgery.

    For filmmakers, it’s a numbers game. They want the multi-platinum record sales to translate into movie audiences. Same thing happened with Elvis and Madonna. And at least, the recording artists have worked done music videos, which are a distant cousin to silent films. They have to do some acting.

    If Anthony Mackie feels the movie business has been destroying itself, it’s been doing so for a long time.

    And he wanted no parts of talking about Will Smith’s beginning, who got on-the-job training on his TV show.

  • grace

    You guys have no idea. Beyonce (and a keys to an extent) is about to take over. Blame the fools who filled the multiplexes to see “Obsessed.”. Trust. Oh — and Madame Cicely Tyson is 85; sheks the last great black female thespian who got starring roles — never played the side kick. Those days are over. Hello Beyonce.

  • BluTopaz

    It’s also about a reluctance to find unknown Black talent, versus intense searches to find the RIGHT White ingenue or actor. Look at the White actress tapped to play the lead in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—this is going to be one of the biggest films next year based on a trilogy of novels, so that means Tattoo films for the next 3 or 4 years. How many people have heard of this White actress who has been chosen to play a highly popular fictional character? But they’ll get Jennifer Hudson to play Winnie Mandela, instead of a trained actress from say, the Broadway circuit.

  • AccidentalVisitor

    Only problem with mentioning Elvis and Madonna is that the percentage of white celbs from other fields (like music or athletics) who are thrust into the movie spotlight was and still is much smaller than black celebs from other fields who get major movie roles. Hollywood is not interested in MAKING new black stars. Rather when it needs a black presence Hollywood has historically been more comfortable getting black stars from the music industry or the world of sports. That puts TRUE black actors like Mackie who study their craft at a disadvantage. Period. And we know they already have enough disadvantages because of their skin color. It just increases with the likes of DMX and Rhiana getting movie roles simply because the public knows them. And by the way on average the presence of these so-called black stars from other fields have not guaranteed box office success. But Hollywood can’t get enough of them.