Saturday, June 15, 2024

Exclusive Chat with Mark Wahlberg: “I go to bed at 6:30. I turn the television on and fall asleep with the remote in my hand”


Mark Wahlberg was at the Mandarin Oriental last week for a press conference to promote his new comedy “Instant Family.” Afterwards he went to the buffet table to help himself to a bowl of plain Greek yogurt and fruit. “Do you mind if I sit down with you?” He asked three of us at a table sipping coffee. We made room.

Wahlberg, who is down to earth and very nice — and built like a Greek god (he works out twice a day according to his Instagram account) — asked if we’d seen any good movies?

Almost before we could reply, a publicist tried to tear him away. “Got to keep moving Mark,” she told him. “I sat down with them,” the actor replied, noting we did not invade his air space.

We rattled off some movies, including “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “A Star is Born” and “The Favourite.”

Wahlberg asked about “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” He was also interested in whether Rami Malek lip-synched in the Queen film or was he actually singing? He’d also heard the movie was getting flack because it didn’t focus enough on his gay relationships.

After a journalist gave a detailed account of the Melissa McCarthy film, I asked if he wasn’t related to her? “I’ve never met her. I think she may be related to my brother’s wife, Jenny McCarthy,” he said.

“I haven’t seen anything,” said the 47 year old married father of four. “I go to bed at 6:30. I turn the television on and fall asleep with the remote in my hand.” (He’s famous for his 5am workouts.)

Wahlberg just started shooting the action thriller, “Wonderland,” in Boston. It’s an adaptation of late great mystery writer Robert B. Parker’s “Wonderland,” directed by Peter Berg, who Wahlberg worked with on “Lone Survivor” and “Mile 22.” It’s his first Netflix film, so he was asked if he thought it inevitable he would be making movies that are streamed rather than having theatrical runs?

“Netflix’s going to give it a theatrical release, but it’s pretty inevitable that people are going to decide when and where and how they want to watch films.”

When I asked if he had any dramas like his Oscar-nominated film “The Fighter” in the works, he said the next couple of films were in that category. For several years he’s been working on developing a script with David O. Russell, whom he collaborated with on “The Fighter” and “I Heart Huckabees” about Father Stu, who he said was “an amazing priest from Helena Montana,” a tough guy who was a fighter, a football player and “later in life wanted to become a priest” even as he battled a fatal disease. He would star as the priest.

If Russell and Wahlberg do reunite, it would be quite a story. Word was they had a bad falling out after “The Fighter.” Wahlberg thought he was going to be in Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” but was replaced by Bradley Cooper, who went on to an Oscar nomination. So maybe that rift has healed.

After about 15 minutes Wahlberg got up. “Nice to see you guys,” he said. Then he took off for his round of afternoon interviews for “Instant Family.”

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