A Big Easy-born actor who honed his skills at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts before completing his education at Juillard, Anthony Mackie portrayed ill-fated rapper Tupac Shakur in a stage production of Up Against the Wind before taunting Detroit-based rapper Eminem as a member of the rival rhyming crew in the box-office hit 8 Mile. Subsequently appearing onscreen alongside some of the biggest names in the business, Mackie took the lead as a sperm-donating former biotech executive opposite Ellen Barkin and Ossie Davis in Spike Lee's She Hate Me, and proved that he could even hold his own against such screen legends as Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman with a substantial role in the boxing drama Million Dollar Baby. While it may be on the silver screen that Mackie has courted the majority of fame, the ascending star also appeared on the Broadway stage in high-profile productions of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Drowning Crow. Few actors could dream of a career that advanced as quickly as Mackie's did, and the same year he played leading man in She Hate Me, the then-twenty-five-year-old would earn an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his memorable portrayal of a homeless shelter employee struggling with his cultural and sexual identity in Brother to Brother. Just when it seemed as if Mackie's rigorous work schedule couldn't get any more demanding, the actor would appear in no less than six movies in 2006 including the racially charged kidnapping drama Freedomland, the underground street-ball drama Crossover, and opposite Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox in the fact-based football film We Are Marshall.