In “The Tomorrow War” and the new comic thriller “Werewolves Within,” where you play a kind-to-a-fault forest ranger named Finn, you’re exploring different versions of nice guys who are thrown into extreme circumstances.
I feel there is a spectrum on the side of nice. It’s like how, with a villain, you can go from a Karen in a grocery store to Thanos snapping his finger and destroying half the world: There’s so much space in between. With Finn, I likened it to Jason Bateman in “Arrested Development,” where he’s being surrounded by all the craziest people, but he’s also effortlessly funny. He is the most grounded, but he’s coming to terms with what it means to be nice: Do you have to shed that layer of niceness in order to survive in a community?
What was it like to watch your “Veep” co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfus join the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a cameo on “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”?
I jumped. First, I’m a huge MCU guy. When I got my knee surgery, that night was the premiere of “Avengers: Endgame” and I was like, “Well, I’ve got to go,” so I went to the movie with crutches and on Vicodin, and I was on my feet, jumping on my bandaged, recently cut-into knee. I care about the MCU so greatly, so after avoiding spoilers and seeing Julia pop up on that screen, I was like, “This is just for me!” I truly lost my breath, I was so excited. I texted her: “Oh, Julia. I can’t believe this.” She was like, “Yeah, it was hard to keep that a secret for so long.”
You recently suggested a comic-book role you’d like to play — Beast from “X-Men” — and a lot of fans had run with that, hoping Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige would cast you. Have you ever met with him?
I felt kind of nervous about that, like what if I say that and now Marvel’s like, “Never in your life, you don’t tell us what to do.” I went in for a meeting with Marvel years ago, and I was talking about how I love the character Falcon, and I think the guy I was talking to took that as me being like, “Fire Anthony Mackie and hire me.” He was like, “Well, Anthony does a great job.” I was like, “I know! I agree!” But no, I haven’t talked to Marvel about anything like that. I wish my phone would ring one day, and it’d be like, “Hey, it’s Feige. Meet me in my secret lair!”