Avengers star Anthony Mackie does not believe that Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther film – the first in the cinematic superhero universe to feature an African-American lead – needs an African-American director behind the camera.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Beast, Mackie said a director’s race is not an important factor in the success of a film.
“I don’t think it’s important at all,” the actor said. “As a director your job is to tell a story. You know, they didn’t get a horse to direct Seabiscuit! The thing is I don’t think the race of the director has to do with their ability to tell a story. I think it’s all about the director’s ability to be able to relate to that story and do it justice. I think men can direct women, and two of my greatest work experiences were with female directors. So I think it all depends. May the best man—or woman—win.”
Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up, 42) is set to star as T’Challa, prince of Wakanda, who becomes the superhero Black Panther after his father is assassinated. Marvel had courted Selma director Ava DuVernay to take the reins of the project, but she passed on it, citing creative differences.
The search is now on to find a director for the film, which is set for release in 2018.
Mackie, whose political drama Our Brand is Crisis hits theaters at the end of October, also weighed in on current presidential politics, telling the Daily Beast that Republicans have been trying to suppress voting.
“The weird thing, what I find so remarkable, is that Republicans have been trying to capture the vote and rework the delegation of voting rights since Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965,” Mackie told the outlet. “Since he signed that, the Republicans have not figured out how to get elected without the black vote. George Bush kind of cracked it by getting the Latino vote by going the Christian route, but they haven’t been able to figure it out.”
The actor also placed some of the blame for voter suppression on the current Supreme Court:
“The Supreme Court basically just gut the Voting Rights Act, three weeks ago. Right before the huge presidential election. So now you go to the state of Florida, which was a huge electoral state, and they closed down like 60 DMVs. In order to vote, you’ve got to get your voting card. You get your voting card from the DMV. You mean to tell me your little 75-year-old grandma in the bay is going to drive 70 miles to the DMV and wait in line all day just to get her voting card? No. She’s just not going to vote. And that’s what’s scary—and we let them do it.”
Mackie faced severe backlash for endorsing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in an interview with BET earlier this week. The actor has since walked back his endorsement, calling it a “bad attempt at a joke.”
Check out the rest of Mackie’s interview with the Daily Beast here.