Anthony Mackie: Morgan Freeman was punching me for real in Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning film starred Mackie as an arrogant young boxer.

Anthony Mackie: Morgan Freeman was punching me for real in Million Dollar Baby

Anthony Mackie has reflected on starring with Morgan Freeman in the 2004 film Million Dollar Baby – revealing that his co-star was throwing real punches in their scenes.

In Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning movie, Mackie played a cocksure boxer who is humiliated in the ring by a wise old trainer, portrayed by Freeman.

“He was supposed to be fake punching me, right? But he was punching me for real!” Mackie told The Times. “And there’s nothing like old black dude country strength. It hurt so bad.  

“And I would go to Clint Eastwood and say, ‘Yo! Morgan is hitting me for real.’ And Clint would say, ‘OK, I’ll talk to him.’ And him and Morgan would be in the corner laughing together, and we’d do another take and he’d punch me again! It was a lesson learnt and also a great experience.”

Mackie, who can next be seen in sci-fi thriller Synchronic, also weighed in on the debate over whether Tom Cruise was right to yell at crewmembers on the set of the new Mission: Impossible movie who weren’t adhering to Covid-19 safety protocols.

“Tom Cruise was 100 per cent right,” said Mackie. “And more people need to be yelling and screaming and enraged by the idea that some people aren’t taking Covid seriously. 

"Look at it this way – [Mission: Impossible co-star] Ving Rhames is a sixtysomething-year-old black man, and Covid has killed an exponentially large amount of older black people. So, if someone’s going to bring Covid to the set and give it to Ving Rhames he’s at high risk of not surviving.”

Synchronic is available digitally on demand now.

(The Independent)