Actor Anthony Mackie cried tears of pride when he was cast as superhero Falcon in the new Captain America sequel, because he was overwhelmed by the idea of becoming a role model for younger generations of African-Americans.

The Hurt Locker star had been lobbying Marvel movie bosses for a part in their hugely popular comic book film adaptations since 2008 and he finally triumphed by landing the part of Sam Wilson and his alter ego Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier - but the good news reduced him to tears.

He tells the Associated Press, "When I heard I got the role I broke down in tears. I realised two years from that date some little brown boy was going to be at my door in a Falcon costume on Halloween. When I was a kid I didn't have that... Being the Falcon is monumental."

But MACkie admits he had to hit the gym hard to make sure he was in the best shape possible for the film.

He says, "I read up on him (Falcon) and immediately got into the gym. I thought if I am wearing that much spandex I have to be in shape!"

MACkie stars opposite Chris Evans as Captain America and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow in the new movie.