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Anthony Mackie Discusses Being Truthful To MLK's Legacy For 'All The Way' Role

“I didn’t want to put on prosthetics and a fat suit, because I feel like that would’ve been disrespectful to the legacy of Dr. King.”

Anthony Mackie decided to take a different route for his role as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “All The Way.”

Starring Mackie, Bryan Cranston (as President Lyndon B. Johnson), Bradley Whitford (as Vice President Hubert Humphrey), and Stephen Root (as J. Edgar Hoover), the HBO original film highlight’s President Johnson’s first year in office following the assassination of  John F. Kennedy, and follows his efforts to pass the historic Civil Rights Act.

Contrary to other actors portraying the role of a famous public figure, Mackie decided to shy away from mimicking Dr. King’s physical appearance and delve deeper into his characteristics for the role.  

“I didn’t want to put on prosthetics and a fat suit, because I feel like that would’ve been disrespectful to the legacy of Dr. King,” Mackie said during an interview with AOL’s Build series on Thursday. “Dr. King is one of the only men in history where it’s not so much about how he looked. He’s remembered by his actions. So I wanted to capture the essence of Dr. King through his actions. His story is the work that he did, not me trying look like him.”

Mackie went on to explain how he retraced Dr. King’s roots by visiting his alma mater of Morehouse College in preparation of the role.

 “I was in Atlanta shooting ‘Captain America’ when I heard about this project,” he said. “And fortunately my brother is a graduate of Morehouse College, where Dr. King went to school. So I went over to Morehouse and they just walked me through the gauntlet of Dr. King 101, and even sat me down with men who had marched with Dr. King. It was amazing and eye opening how passionate and how aggressive of a man he was when it came to the future of this nation and the rights of not only black people, but women, Native Americans, and gay & lesbian. It was phenomenal to see and hear his speeches for the first time.”

“All The Way” premieres on Saturday at 8 pm/ET on HBO. Check out more of Anthony Mackie’s AOL Build interview segment in the clip above.

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