Anthony Mackie’s stock in Hollywood appears to be on the rise.
Currently Mackie is shooting The Gangster Squad with Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn and Emma Stone. This Friday, fans of the Hurt Locker actor can see him in What’s Your Number? opposite Anna Faris and Joel McHale. And on October 7th, Mackie will hit theaters starring alongside Hugh Jackman in the robot action flick, Real Steel.
In a recent interview with The Playlist, Mackie revealed that he hope to take on the lead role in a biopic about the legendary Olympian Jesse Owens.
I feel like Jesse Owens kind of saved the world, If the Olympics had gone the way Hitler expected them to, his idea of being the ultimate race kind of would have been true. Jesse Owens went there and won four gold medals and flattens the idea of there being an ultimate race. Next thing you know, we go to war and flatten everything. And I feel like, for us not to recognize that, is preposterous and asinine. If you can make a movie about a dolphin or a horse for winning a race, you can make a movie about a man that changed the scope of the world.
If Ryan Gosling is believed to be able to gain 30 pounds to play a role, I can definitely lose 10, we have writers we’re looking at and working with. The problem is, you have a lot of directors who can do action, you’ve got a lot of directors who can do storytelling. You don’t have many directors who can do both. Those directors are so few and far between that you don’t want to make this movie with the wrong director. In film, if you have a bad movie you have a bad movie forever. So, it’s at the point now where it’s trying to get on that slate of trying to find that guy or lady or person who can just make that story the way it deserves to be made.
There have been several successful biopics about historically signficant African-Americans which have gained both critical and commercial success, including Ray, Malcolm X, Ali, and What’s Love Got To Do With It.
Along with Mackie’s present endeavor to bring the life of Jesse Owens to the big screen, there are several other biopics of famous black icons that remain in the works.
Aretha Franklin has been outspoken about turning her life story into a movie. The Grammy Award winning singer is still hammering out the final details on a film based on her extraordinary career. She has made no secret about wanting to Halle Berry to play the lead role, however Berry has repeatedly turned down the part due to her inability to sing. Franklin has hinted that she has secured a director for the film, but has yet to announce any actors officially attached to the project.
Academy Award winner Mo’Nique owns the rights to the Hattie McDaniel story, which she plans to star in, and has hopes that Precious director Lee Daniels will also direct that film. When Mo’Nique won her Oscar for Precious in 2010 the actress wore gardenias in her hair and a dress similar to the one that McDaniel donned when she took home the best supporting actress Oscar Gone for With the Wind in 1939.
R&B singer Tyrese Gibson was tapped by Teddy Pendergrass, prior to his death last year, to play him in biopic. Gibson has not been shy about wanting Lee Daniels to make the film a reality as well. Thus far, there is little information about plans for developing the project further.
Danny Glover has sought to make a biopic about the legendary Toussaint L’Overture, the former slave who lead the Haitian Revolution, as his directorial debut. As of 2006 the film’s cast was rumored to include Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle and Mos Def. Production was scheduled to begin in late 2006 with an estimated cost of $30 million to produce. There has been a lot of buzz about Glover’s film, but a firm production date has yet to be announced.
Meanwhile, Mackie still seeks a filmmaker to help make his dream of a Jesse Owens masterpiece a reality.