Anthony Mackie Calls Samuel L. Jackson His 'Work Dad'

Part of what makes Samuel L. Jackson one of the great American actors is that he isn't precious about the projects he chooses. If you go to his IMDB, you will see that there are over 200 credits listed there as an actor, and the range of projects could not be more vast. Alongside "Star Wars" and Marvel, you have very silly mid-budget studio comedies, independent dramas, meat and potatoes action thrillers, voiceover work, and films by some of the finest auteurs of recent memory. The man has done just about everything you could do as a film actor, and he isn't showing any signs of slowing down in the slightest, even if he is in his mid-70s.

Even though he isn't precious about the projects he does, that is not the same as not caring. On the contrary, Samuel L. Jackson could not have built a career like this if he wasn't a total professional. He has a reputation for arriving on set more prepared than you thought possible, knowing exactly how he interacts with the lights and the camera, and expecting the same level of professionalism from every other person he is working with. In a world where we hear nightmare stories about self-indulgent "method" actors making their co-workers' lives nightmares, this way of working is such a breath of fresh air.

Someone incredibly inspired by Jackson's work ethic is Anthony Mackie, and as he has risen in stature over the course of his career, Mackie has made it a point to emulate Jackson's methodology in his own work. It's certainly difficult to find a better role model in this respect.

'Class and ease'

When you are a young actor trying to navigate a film business that can be incredibly tumultuous — particularly for a Black actor — finding someone who has successfully gone through the ringer and come out on the other side still intact is incredibly important. You need to know that it could be possible for you to do the same, and when you find that person, you try your best to emulate them. For Anthony Mackie, it was seeing Samuel L. Jackson work on (completely forgotten) projects like "The Man" and "Freedomland" that informed how he wanted to work himself on set. Mackie said on the Happy Sad Confused podcast:

"Sam Jackson taught me a lot, like from afar ... [M]y set etiquette is a complete replica of Sam Jackson. He literally was my work dad. He taught me everything about the business from afar. And every now and then I'd ask him a question, and he'd give me one of his answers, 'Shut up, motherf***er!' and I would take that. But literally when you see me on set, it is a direct representation of how Sam Jackson moved and operated with this business, with class and ease. People went the extra mile for him just because he was a cool dude."

Jackson and Mackie have continued to work together through the years on all those Marvel movies, but outside of that, there was also the 2020 film "The Banker," which instead of having Mackie as two-scene youngster like "The Man," had him first-billed over Jackson. My hope is that while filming "The Banker," Jackson could recognize the parts of him that Anthony Mackie had taken and be proud. Film sets shouldn't be places for chaos, and I'm glad there's actors trying to make that so.