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'Twisted Metal' star Anthony Mackie reveals why 'Barbie Girl' makes a cameo in the action-packed Peacock series

Like Harrison Ford, Mackie is also unsure if a Red Hulk will show up in "Captain America: Brave New World."

Anthony Mackie and Stephanie Beatriz in the Peacock action series, Twisted Metal. (Photo: Skip Bolen/Peacock)
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It shouldn't be a surprise to learn that Harrison Ford is so metal. That observation comes courtesy of Twisted Metal star Anthony Mackie, who just finished shooting Captain America: Brave New World with the Hollywood icon. In fact, Mackie says that Ford would fit right in on his post-apocalyptic Peacock series, based on the vehicular video game franchise that's like Mad Max meets Mario Kart.

"Before I met him, I would have been like, 'He would never make it,'" Mackie tells Yahoo Entertainment with a laugh. "But now I could definitely see Harrison Ford with some shades on and hanging out in a ripped-up old Twisted Metal car." [This interview was conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike.]

Watch our interview with Twisted Metal star Anthony Mackie below

Brave New World marks Mackie's first feature film appearance as Captain America — the identity he earned during the course of the Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — as well as Ford's introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny star is playing "Thunderbolt" Ross, the MCU character that the late William Hurt originated in 2008's The Incredible Hulk. Production on the film wrapped on June 30 with an anticipated release date of July 26, 2024.

"He was very nice, very cordial," Mackie says of Ford's on-set manner. "He wasn't one of those dudes where he'd come to set and be like, 'Nobody tells me anything — I'm Harrison Ford.' He was really interesting and open with the crew ... and everybody just got to chill. Harrison really just made everybody feel comfortable."

While Mackie was on hand to provide Ford with a crash course in MCU history, it's clear that the veteran actor still has a pronounced learning curve. During the Dial of Destiny press tour, Ford made headlines with a baffled response to rumors that Ross might be revealed as the Red Hulk during the course of Brave New World, mirroring the character's journey in the pages of Marvel Comics. "What is the Red Hulk?" Ford said in a viral interview.

Of course, that's exactly the sort of thing a spoiler-shy MCU star would say. (Ford must have learned a thing or two from Sir Patrick Stewart.) "That was good," Mackie says of his co-star's non-response. "I'm waiting to see if a Red Hulk is gonna show up!"

Mackie gets the keys to his own franchise-ready TV series with Peacock's Twisted Metal. (Photo: Skip Bolen/Peacock)
Mackie gets the keys to his own franchise-ready TV series with Peacock's Twisted Metal. (Photo: Skip Bolen/Peacock)

A Red Hulk appearance is kind out of Mackie's hands. But the star did have more of a say over what songs made it into Twisted Metal, which boasts a killer playlist to go along with its killer car chases. Oasis's "Champagne Supernova," Aqua's "Barbie Girl" and Evanescence's "My Immortal" are some of the bangers you'll hear over the course of the show's 10-episode first season.

"We put together an email chain with over a thousand emails back and forth with music that we wanted," Mackie says. "I was kind of upset that we didn't get Biggie or Tupac on there! But it was a pretty aggressive battle to get your pick on the playlists."

The "Barbie Girl" needle drop happens during a particularly aggressive moment when Mackie's amnesiac driver, John Doe, and his traveling companion, Quiet (played by Stephanie Beatriz), are held captive by tyrannical patrolman, Agent Stone (Thomas Haden Church). As a torture device, he blasts Aqua's 1997 song, which is newly back on peoples's playlists courtesy of Greta Gerwig's blockbuster Barbie movie and its accompanying Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj cover version.

Mackie as John Doe and Joe Seanoa as Twisted metal fan favorite, Sweet Tooth. (Photo by: Skip Bolen/Peacock)
Mackie as John Doe and Joe Seanoa as Twisted Metal fan favorite, Sweet Tooth. (Photo by: Skip Bolen/Peacock)

"That was all M.J., man," Mackie says, referring to Twisted Metal showrunner Michael Jonathan Smith, who apparently has strong feelings about "Barbie Girl." "He's just a weird, wacky dude. He orchestrated the idea of what that song was gonna get and what that scene was gonna be. It sets the tone for what the show is going to be in a really unique and awesome way."

Twisted Metal arrives on Peacock as the tide is turning on video game adaptations across the board. Recent hits like HBO's The Last of Us and Illumination's The Super Mario Bros. Movie seem to indicate that Hollywood has cracked the (Konami) code for how to make games play as onscreen narratives — something that wasn't the case when Twisted Metal debuted on the Sony PlayStation in 1995.

"What we did with this show was use the game as a guideline," Mackie explains. "We strung through all of the things from the game, but also weaved them around in a way where the elements of the game are the plot points in the show. Also, if you look at Twisted Metal, it's such a contemporary story about where society is in terms of how he have these walled-off cities where outsiders aren't always welcomed. So the show's got some social commentary to it."

Social commentary... and a soundtrack that'll put some extra gas in your tank.

Twisted Metal premieres July 27 on Peacock