Exclusive: Mark Wahlberg on Max Payne

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In 20th Century Fox’s new video game adaptation Max Payne, Mark Wahlberg plays the maverick detective whose sole mission is to seek revenge upon the people responsible for brutally killing his family. ComingSoon.net talked exclusively with the Oscar nominee about the John Moore-directed action-thriller, co-starring Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Olga Kurylenko and Chris O’Donnell.

ComingSoon.net: Were you a big fan of the game?

Mark Wahlberg: No, I didn’t even know about the game until after I read the script. I checked it out and I was surprised at how much video games have changed. I grew up playing Pac-Man, so I was interested to see how cinematic it was.

CS: What is it about the movie that you think hardcore fans of the game like?

Wahlberg: We first and foremost wanted to satisfy the hardcore gamers and of course try to take it to another lever. I definitely think we accomplished that. We showed some diehard gamers that were very skeptical in the beginning and they were thrilled. Hopefully we’ll also be able to introduce a new set of fans to the movie and they’ll gravitate toward the game.

CS: What were the gamers skeptical about?

Wahlberg: Just making their baby into a movie, period. They were okay with me playing the part because they felt like I was edgy enough. It’s like anytime somebody messes with something special and dear to you, you don’t want to potentially mess that up.

CS: What did you like about the game?

Wahlberg: I didn’t play it that much. I let my assistant, who is a diehard gamer freak, to play it all the time until the end of the movie and then I took it away from him. I just liked how much story there was and you were able to become this character and go out and seek vengeance.

CS: How close are the characters in the movie to the game?

Wahlberg: Fairly close except for Chris Bridges – his character was originally a 60-year-old white guy. So we changed that up a little and made him younger and a little more hip. It’s a much more interesting dynamic – me and him going head to head.

CS: There are some really intense moments in this film for you. How challenging were the actions scenes or are you used to them by now?

Wahlberg: They think I am. It was pretty difficult at times. I’m not getting any younger. I’m not as reckless as I used to be. I have three small children now. I have to be more responsible. The emotional stuff was probably more difficult because I have to imagine something happening to my family which is not a fun place to go. That’s what happens to the character so…

CS: How do you not take that home with you?

Wahlberg: Look forward to the end of the film and to hopefully walk away with your sanity. Just hug and squeeze my kids as much as I possibly can.

CS: Can you talk about some of the visual aspects of the movie?

Wahlberg: Yeah, I wasn’t really aware of how visual the movie was going to be. I was definitely living in the head space of the character and John [Moore] is a genius. He was off doing his thing and I’m just kind of doing mine. Then I saw the movie and was like, “Wow!” Everything is bigger than what I expected, but that his motto. He says “My name is John Moore – not John less.”

CS: Did you see the demons and the other things your character hallucinates beforehand?

Wahlberg: No, so it was really bizarre. Thank God it was towards the end of the shoot where I was really trusting John because it was just kind of me laying on the floor and him saying, “They’re after you. They’re on top of you!” I felt kind of silly with 60-70 people watching and someone flashing a light by you. I trusted him and by that time felt like I was in good hands.

CS: For those who aren’t familiar with the game, break down who Max Payne is.

Wahlberg: Max Payne is a homicide cop whose wife and kid are brutally murdered. He goes out and seeks revenge every single day. He doesn’t sleep. He goes and looks for the people who are responsible and the trail leads him on a very interesting path. He goes from one lead to another and he ends up working a cold case. He’s not supposed to be investigating the case of the murder of his wife and child, but obviously he’s not following the rules anymore. Basically he becomes a renegade cop.

CS: What did you like about the script when you first read it?

Wahlberg: I thought it was very different from what I’d done the last time and I thought it was very well written. I thought I could be great in the part.

CS: What did you do to prepare physically?

Wahlberg: I didn’t have to do much physical preparation. I’ve been training to do this boxing movie [“The Fighter”]. I was already kind of in shape. I’ve already done plenty of weapons training on other movies.

We also talked to Mark about his upcoming projects, which you can read about here!

Max Payne hits theaters on Friday, October 17. To watch the trailers, TV spots, and clips and view photos, click here!