Mark Wahlberg has become one of Hollywood’s most sought out actors and has the resume to prove it. Following the success of last year’s highly triumphant The Departed which earned the actor an Oscar nom, Wahlberg has lined up several projects which ComingSoon.net talked to him about at the L.A. junket for his current film We Own the Night.
ComingSoon.net: Are you still up for the role of Duke in “G.I. Joe”?
Mark Wahlberg: Oh, I have no idea. Lorenzo [di Bonaventura] was talking about it months back, when we were promoting “Shooter” but I haven’t seen a script.
CS: Has he been in contact with you over the summer?
Wahlberg: No, no. The idea of it seems pretty out there, they haven’t told me tonally what they’re going for, so we’ll see. [I’m] training to do “The Fighter” and everything is coming after.
CS: How’s the training going for “Fighter”?
Wahlberg: It’s going good. A lot of early mornings. I started training last October, so I’ve been training for almost a year now. And still got some training ahead of me.
CS: What kind of training have you been doing and how rigorous has it been?
Wahlberg: Boxing training, two hours a day. Mickey Ward is one of my favorite fighters of all time, and I think there have been some great boxing movies made, but I don’t think anybody is ever really looked the part of a champion, and I want to do him justice.
CS: What’s the shooting schedule and when do you start?
Wahlberg: You know, with all the strike talk and everything, nobody really knows. Just kind of be prepared when the day comes, and hope the day comes. You never know, with everything that’s going on.
CS: What are you doing to do justice to the real Mickey Ward?
Wahlberg: I’m gonna do the same thing like I did in “Invincible.” I’m gonna really get in there and make it real. The way fights are covered now, if you watch, there’s a great middleweight fight tonight that I can’t wait to watch, when you see the way they can cover these fights, you can’t do the big looping punches and the big reactions, you gotta go in there and you gotta take a couple shots.
CS: Have you choreographed the whole thing, or will you mix it up a bit?
Wahlberg: We’re gonna go in there and mix it up. Certainly, he has some very historical fights and rounds on him, so there are things that we’ll have to duplicate, and certainly anything that me and Brad [Pitt] do training-wise, they had – the brothers sparred together because they couldn’t afford sparring partners and stuff like that, so yeah, we’re gonna have to get in there and make it real.
CS: How are things going with M. Night Shyamalan’s next movie “The Happening?”
Wahlberg: It’s happening. It’s happening. No, I love working with Night, I’ve never seen a filmmaker work so smoothly. And so prepared. First day, we had a scene that was probably five pages long, and I figured, well we’ll probably do this for a good three or four days, and we were done by lunch. And I was like whoa. Okay. So I’m very glad that I never tried directing myself until I worked with Night. I think of all the guys that I’ve worked with, I think his is a style that I would really try to emulate.
CS: Are you allowed to talk about that movie at all?
Wahlberg: I’ll just tell you the ending. (laughs) No, I play a science teacher, definitely a part that people will be extremely surprised that I decided to play. He’s constantly reminding me of how I need to walk. No, that looks too tough, that looks too angry. You’re a science teacher, you know. But I love it. It’s really about the characters and their relationships, and there’s this crazy thing that’s happening. So I’m thrilled, we only have a week left. Probably one of the biggest movies I’ve been a part of, yet we’re only shooting forty-four days. And the longest day has been a twelve-hour day, and the short days have been like eight, nine hours. And he gave away yesterday, for instance, that every Friday he gives away a trip for seven days in the Greek islands, to a crew member, a guy I think from the audio department won, and the week before somebody got a seven day trip somewhere else in the Caribbean, I’m like what’s going on, man? It’s a special experience. And I do whatever he wants me to do. Hopefully the end result will be satisfying. He’s thrilled, I have a very good feeling about it.
CS: Did you go back to school to study how to be a teacher?
Wahlberg: Science was the only subject that I didn’t take while taking my GED exam, so first thing I did when I got to Philly was I went to the Ben Franklin Institute, trying to do as much as possible. But there’s very little stuff in the class. The class and stuff is really about showing his relationship and his connection to students. He’s not the most adult teacher. His wife wants him to be more adult, she wants to be more like a kid, and he connects with his kids and he’s great with his kids. It was a fun experience.
CS: Is there anything going on with “The Brazilian Job”?
Wahlberg: I don’t know what’s happening with “The Brazilian Job.” They keep talking about it, we’ll see. We want to make it if we can make it better than the first one. And that goes for any other sequel that they’re talking about, that or “The Departed” or anything else. You don’t want to just do it. There are plenty of other ways to make a paycheck. I want to do that some justice if possible.
CS: Are you in talks for anything else?
Wahlberg: There’s some other stuff that we’re looking at, nothing locked down, nothing written in stone.
We Own the Night also stars Joaquin Phoenix, Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall. The police drama hits theatres on October 12.