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Anthony Mackie on "Pain and Gain"

Anthony Mackie talks "Pain and Gain."

You need cajones to play a guy who's shortchanged in that department, so kudos to Anthony Mackie, star of "Pain and Gain."

Mackie stopped in Philadelphia to talk about his role in the strange-but-true movie, based on three Florida body-builders and their murder/robbery crime spree in the 1990s. Mackie's character, one of the muscle-men, suffers from the negative consequences of steroid use.

"I never take any of my roles personally," chuckled Mackie. "And look, sexual dysfunction is a real problem in society. It's particularly a problem in this subculture of body-building, where steroid use is common."

Mackie co-stars with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, forming of trio of trainers who see what their rich clients have, and take it. He sees the movie as a commentary on the warping of the American Dream.

"Our parents, our grandparents, believed in an honest days work. That was the American Dream. But by the nineties that had changed. The dream went from working hard to achieve greatness to doing as little as you can to achieve greatness," said the actor, who grew up in New Orleans in a hard-working family.

"In my family, when you turned 13, on the first day of summer, you had to get up and go to work."

It's paid off for Mackie, who gets his big Hollywood payday soon as The Falcon in the ongoing "Avengers" series.