Anthony Mackie

To mark the Blu-ray and DVD release of Matt Damon and Emily Blunt’s new thriller The Adjustment Bureau, on July 4th, we managed to snag an interview with one of the films stars, Anthony Mackie, who plays Harry Mitchell – a junior Adjustment Bureau agent – in the film that is based on the Philip K. Dick short story The Adjustment Team.

You are known for working in both theatre and film, how do you do it?
I love the theatre and try to do it as much as possible. The hard transition is coming back to film from theatre. It always takes one or two takes of bad acting and the director saying, “Stop that!” for me to realise “Oh, we’re in a movie.” It’s usually the first two takes when I get back to movie acting.

Why did you take this movie?
The reason I took this movie was because it is something I wanted to work on. I realised that I can do big pretty well, but subtlety is a strength I did not possess until I started taking workshops and classes in preparation for this movie. When I read the script, I realised there was something about Harry that I wanted to tap into, the weight that goes into the decisions he had to make about David Norris’ life. He basically took his dad and his brother away from him and he’s been navigating this guy’s life for his entire life. There’s a certain weight and a certain heaviness that comes along with that, so I wanted to capture that in stillness and just [being] tired; a lack of comfort. I didn’t want to be relaxed and cool.

You seem to have chosen your roles very well because you’ve been nominated and won awards… Have you made these decisions all by yourself?
No, I wish. I try to do it by myself, but they won’t stop calling me. [laughs] I’ve been fortunate. I have great representation and this business is 100% about representation. I always want people to think of my resume as classy and sophisticated, so that means mixing it up.

The Adjustment Bureau centers around fate, do you believe in it?
I believe I’m here right now because of fate. If you look at my background, if you look at where I come from, there’s no reason why I should be where I am. I believe we are all fated for something, but our free will is what messes it up along the way.

Are there any opportunities that you think you missed at some point? Is there anything you regret missing that you wanted to do?
Early on in my career, Denzel Washington directed a film called Antwone Fisher. I auditioned for it and I thought it went really well. Everybody else thought the audition went really well. I was fortunate enough that I didn’t get the movie, I look at my career now and I’m glad I didn’t get it because at that point in time I wasn’t ready for it. I talked a good game but it really wasn’t there. At first I was sad that I didn’t get it, but looking at it now I’m very happy that I didn’t get it because I just would’ve fizzled out.

You said you wanted to be part of this movie because of the cast. What makes Matt Damon so great that you wanted to work with him?
His background. If you look at the work that Matt has done, he has balanced his career between small, beautiful, poignant movies and big-budget blockbusters. And it’s kind of cool to tell all the old heads in New Orleans that I’m friends with Jason Bourne. [laughs]

So what, in your words, is The Adjustment Bureau about?
I think this movie is about fate versus free will. I think in our lives we’ve made a bunch of choices to get us where we are today. I think for monetary gain, for self, for love, we make a lot of sacrifices and most of the time we feel that those sacrifices aren’t really acknowledged. I think with The Adjustment Bureau you realise how those sacrifices were ushered into play. I think this movie holds the line of fate versus free will and which boat you fall in.

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