Like most actors, Mark Wahlberg works hard not to be pigeonholed. Through the years, he‚??s proven how comfortable he is with dramas (Boogie Nights, The Lovely Bones), comedies (The Other Guys, Ted), sci-fi (Planet of the Apes), sports movies (Invincible, The Fighter), and actioners (The Shooter, Contraband).
But Wahlberg makes no secret about which films are his personal favorites. Dating back to his years growing up in South Boston, the actor has always been a fan of dark and twisty thrillers.
I can still remember seeing ‚??Chinatown‚?? with my dad, and we both went, ‚??OK, here‚??s a great character, a great story, and interesting twists.‚?? But they just don‚??t have the tendency to make those kinds of adult, character-driven movies anymore.
One of the reasons that Wahlberg jumped at the chance to produce and star in Broken City, his latest film opening this weekend, is because it reminded him of Chinatown.
Wahlberg stars in Broken City as Billy Taggart, a cop turned private investigator who was thrown off the force for something he didn‚??t do. He‚??s hoping to get his old job back when New York City Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) hires Taggart to follow Hostetler‚??s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), whom the mayor suspects of having an affair.
It doesn‚??t take long for Taggart to discover that there‚??s a much more sinister and complicated conspiracy brewing. The noir-ish thriller also stars Jeffrey Wright, Kyle Chandler, Natalie Martinez, and Barry Pepper.
Even though Wahlberg has played a lot of cops and ex-cops, he believes his Broken City character is unique in a number of ways. I just found [Taggart] really interesting because I could understand what he did in the beginning of the movie and why he did it‚?Ľ The system really failed in his specific case.
And then he‚??s faced with this issue of possibly taking down the mayor and helping a lot of less fortunate people even though he‚??s going to have to risk losing his own freedom to do it.
So, what drives Billy to go up against the powers that be?
He‚??s willing to do it because he wants to right a wrong. I just love that about him, and it‚??s one of those things that reminded me the most of ‚??Chinatown.‚??
Just as Wahlberg was instrumental in hiring Menace II Society director Allen Hughes to helm Broken City, he was also excited about working with Russell Crowe for the first time.
You know, it was funny because we were shooting for five weeks before Russell came in, and everybody was saying, ‚??What is he going to be like?‚?? We had such a great energy and atmosphere on the set already.
But he just showed up, and he had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. I mean, monologue after monologue. He just showed up and walked in the room and Allen said, ‚??Do you guys want to rehearse?‚?? He looked at me and I looked at him and I said, ‚??Let‚??s do this s--t.‚??
And the great thing about it is we had the ability, because of the way it was written, to just go at each other. We were trying to outdo each other as characters but not as actors and individuals.
So we got into some really great duels in service of the movie‚?Ľ It was nice to see somebody who is just as prepared as yourself. It‚??s, like, ‚??Some people still do care. Some people do take this seriously.‚??
After completing Broken City, Wahlberg shot 2 Guns, which casts the actor as a Naval Intelligence officer investigating a DEA agent (Denzel Washington) who might or might not be stealing from the mob.
I had [a great] experience working with Denzel, said Wahlberg, 41, a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for The Departed starring Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
I really feel like I‚??m working with the best actors out there. It gives you an opportunity to show what you can do, and these guys always elevate your game.
While Wahlberg has been on a roll lately with a number of big hits, including 2012‚??s Ted, which surprised Hollywood by earning $218 million, he insists that he goes into every movie with the best of intentions.
It‚??s got to be on the page, said Wahlberg, who has produced a number of movies (The Fighter, Contraband) and TV series (Entourage, In Treatment, Boardwalk Empire).
And then you just hope that you get sprinkled with a little bit of magical fairy dust from the ‚??Movie Gods‚?? because it‚??s hard to make a good movie. Every project I go into, [I give it my full] effort. It‚??s just sometimes they turn out good and sometimes they don‚??t.
Wahlberg has been particularly busy over the last couple of years. In addition to Broken City and 2 Guns, he also stars in Pain & Gain, a 2013 comedy directed by Michael Bay about a pair of bodybuilders (Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson) who get entangled in an extortion scheme.
Bay is known for being demanding on set, but Wahlberg said he and the director clicked.
We really hit it off and complimented each other so well. We took something that was really good and I think we made it something really special.
The duo became such good pals, in fact, that Wahlberg agreed to star in Bay‚??s Transformers 4, which begins shooting in May for a 2014 release. The fourth installment, penned by scripter Ehren Kruger, will co-star Irish actor Jack Reynor and be set four years after the events in the third film, Dark of the Moon.
I think it‚??s the most challenging role that I will have played, and it‚??s an opportunity for me to do something extremely different, said Wahlberg, who plans to shoot Ted 2 immediately afterwards. ‚??Transformers 4‚?? is going to be very different from the first ‚??Transformers‚?? movies. I‚??m excited about it.
Wahlberg got the idea to topline a pre-sold blockbuster after taking his kids and wife Rhea Durham to see The Avengers.
I liked what all those guys did with ‚??The Avengers,‚?? the actor said. When I watched that movie, I was not at all interested in seeing it, but it was entertaining for me as well as for my kids. I thought they did a really good job with it.
Given his steady stream of R-rated movies, it isn‚??t easy for Wahlberg to impress his four children, who range in age from 10 to three. But with his starring role in Transformers 4, he‚??s finally managed to earn the kids‚?? respect.
Honestly, it‚??s the first time they‚??ve ever been excited about me going off to do a movie, Wahlberg said. And they demand to be in it, too. So we‚??ll see.