The great cast includes Kate Winslet as a ruthless Russian mob boss, Woody Harrelson as Affleck's uncle -- who's also a cop -- and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus and Aaron Paul as members of Mackie's bank-robbing gang.
Mackie sat down with Moviefone to talk about his favorite heist movie, the deleted scenes he hopes resurface on the DVD, and hanging with "Mr. Atlanta," T.I.
Moviefone: This has a terrific heist scene in it -- so what's your favorite heist movie?
Anthony Mackie: Eddie Murphy did this movie called "Harlem Nights." The premise was that the mob was bullying them and they had to pay a fee to do business in Harlem. And they turn it and basically jack the mob for all their money and leave town. The only movie with more one-liners is "Coming to America." And those are my two favorite movies of all time.
What are the "Do's and Don'ts" about bank robbing?
(Laughs) The Do's: Be fast. Wear gloves. Be well orchestrated. The Don'ts: Don't go slow. Don't hang around afterwards. Don't lose your gloves. I think the big thing is, as long as you don't hurt anyone in the act of bank robbing, you're okay. I think once you go in and start shootin' people, they're gonna find you. Cuz nobody cares about a rich dude losin' a P.O. box. They care about people being hurt.
The film has a scary-good ensemble cast. Who were you disappointed you didn't get any scenes with?
Of course, Kate. I admire Kate for the work that she's done. She's done some really, really good movies. If you want people to know you're a great actress, you have to change your name to Kate. Of course I was disheartened I didn't have any scenes with her. I've worked with Woody before, and he's just a hoot to be around. He's such his own person that not having worked with him in this movie... we were on set at the same time and I'm like, "C'mon, man! Shouldn't we be in the same room at the same time or something?" So those two were kind of frustrating that we didn't have scenes together.
At one point in the movie, Casey Affleck tells you he's a "total badass." So which one of you is the bigger badass in real life?
I would say Casey's wife [Summer Phoenix] is the biggest badass. She kind of trumps both of us. She's badass. If there's one thing Casey is not, it's a badass. I would say the only person who's further away from being a badass than Casey is Screech.Was there more to your character's backstory than we see in the film?
Watching it, there's certain scenes that [director] John [Hillcoat] deleted, so I'm interested in hearing the feedback once the DVD comes out. Because if this movie were two hours and 15 minutes, it would be a completely different movie. Completely different. [The stuff that was cut] was more character-driven. I feel like this is still character-driven, but what they took out was more in-depth. But I think the DVD version is going to be really interesting if people like it now.
We see why Chiwetel Ejiofor gets into these kinds of heists, but we don't really see why your character does it -- apart from the money.
One of the things that was taken out of the movie ... my character's a young detective. He's flamboyant. You see him in the strip club. You see him in his hot-rod Mustang. He's that guy. But with [my character] Marcus Belmont, what's really cool is his appreciation for being a police officer and the honor of being promoted to detective. That's one of the things I feel that comes with him that I really liked when I read the script, and I think you'll see once all the scenes are put back into the movie.
But there are some pretty big action scenes here. Did you get a chance to say your catchphrase "cut the check" during filming?
Oh, every day. I don't care, when I earn my money, I make sure everybody knows they gotta cut the check. Now this movie, it was a really fun shoot. Runnin' down the street and shootin' and doin' all this stuff was fun to us.
So we had the scene where we're tactically going in to the projects to arrest this guy who's a drug dealer. And I'm behind the car and Casey's running away from him. My cover is getting shot at, so I had to run from behind the bushes, and jump onto a mat behind the car. So every time, goofin' off, I would try to jump and land on the car and roll onto the ground. So John would yell, "Anthony, stop doing that!" And I'm like, "Fine." So I come out the bushes, I run, I jump and I start shooting and he's like, "Perfect!" I'm like,"Cut the check." [Laughs]
You were trying to give him more.
I was trying to give him more! I was trying to give him a burger with many condiments and he just wanted a plain burger. So I gave him a plain burger.
I know you like to listen to music on set. And Chris Evans has said that your iTunes collection is better than his. What did you listen to on this set?
I listened to a lot of hip hop. Because we were in Atlanta, I had everything Jermaine Dupri, OutKast, Organized Noize, and Goodie Mob on constant rotation. And because this was such a grimy movie, we had to be in such a mindset to shoot everyday, it was all Atlanta funk hip hop all day.
You're a fan of the soundtrack?
I love the music in this movie. I worked with T.I. In "Ant-Man" and it was so funny because T.I. is like Mr. Atlanta. My goal in shootin' this movie was, "I need to hang out with T.I., so I'm gonna go to the places I hear T.I. likes to hang out at and I'ma hang out with T.I." So I get his number and I text him, "Yo, Tip. It's Mackie. I'm in Atlanta and I'm shootin'. Let's get up." So T.I. introduced me to Atlanta. That was my goal in this movie.
Gal Gadot is also in the movie. It seems like you can't have a movie now without someone from the Marvel Universe and someone from the DC universe in it.
Pretty much. The last two years have been insane. And what they're doing now is really interesting, DC and Marvel. Instead of doing the Superman movie with just Superman, there's Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. And instead of doing Captain America with just Cap, you have everybody in the movie. So instead of one dude, you have a full cast of actors. And fortunately, Marvel casts really good actors. So if you're in a Marvel movie, it's not because of the way you look, it's because of the way you act.
What's the biggest difference in making a huge movie like the "Captain America" films versus a smaller one like this?
It's way less people. [Laughs] You work on a Marvel movie, you never see 90 percent of the people who are working on it. And it's just expansive. You shoot a Marvel movie, the entire city of L.A. is working on that movie. With this, it was very intimate. It was about John's vision and the story he wanted to tell, as opposed to spectacle that the movie could become ... It's more about the characters and the story and the idea of what happens.
You have to put yourself in a certain mindset or position to watch a movie like this because it's introspective. It makes you think about and challenge yourself, as opposed to a movie for movie's sake.
"Triple 9" hits theaters Friday.