Before becoming a Hollywood star — and a Marvel superhero — Anthony Mackie worked alongside his father at his roofing business in and around New Orleans.
In what seems to be a full-circle moment, Mackie has now teamed up with roofing manufacturer GAF to help residents of his hometown of New Orleans whose roofs were damaged by natural disasters. “It was purely organic,” the actor tells me. “It was one of those things where I was looking for something to do and be a part of, and looking for an opportunity to give back in whatever way I could. I also wanted something that I actually had an interest in.”
The campaign will rebuild or repair 500 roofs in the Gulf region, starting with New Orleans’ 7th Ward. “On the weekends, if Miss Louise or somebody like that had a leak in their roof, my dad would get on their roof and fix it and wouldn’t charge them a coin because when the elderly ladies, the elderly people in the neighborhood can’t afford it, it is your job to take care of them because they are your neighbors,” Mackie said.
He said the partnership with GAF helps honor his dad: “He was such a magnetic human being and meant so much to me and the 7th Ward meant so much to me. That’s why I still live in the 7th Ward. That’s why I raise my kids in the 7th Ward. That being said, to be able to put the roof on 150 houses in my neighborhood, that’s a blessing I couldn’t have dreamed up.”
Any chance you’re going to get up on a roof and do the work dressed as Captain America?
If you knew how hot those suits are, you would know the answer to that question.
But you are living up to being Captain America. Talk about being a superhero.
That’s what was great about the whole Captain America thing. It’s not so much that I get to do the movies or I get to hold the shield and all that stuff. It gives me the opportunity to work with companies like GAF and on initiatives like this, and people take notice of it. You use that to show the disparity in these communities and ask yourself, “How can we help?” That’s what’s so fun about the moniker of Captain America. It isn’t that valuable if you don’t do anything with it.
Are you going to be in “Thunderbolts”?
I have no idea. You know how it works. They call you the week before and are like, “We own your ass. Come get in the movie.”
How much say do you have in what is going to happen in “Captain America: New World Order”?
They’re definitely very inclusive. When we did “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” [writer] Malcolm Spellman and I talked at length about what that character was turning into, what we wanted him to be, what we wanted that narrative to be. Now with Malcolm writing this “Captain America,” it’s the exact same thing. We’ve talked and communicated about what we want that story to be going forward and how it’ll fit in this new Marvel universe. You definitely get the idea of collaboration, but you don’t get to tell them what it’s going to be.
When are you going to run for office down in New Orleans?
I’m never running for office. I’m not a political guy. I just stay on my porch and do my gardening.
What are you gardening? You have a specialty?
I do annuals along my fence, just a little pop of color in the shrubs. I got some succulents, too.
This interview has been edited and condensed.