Films

Mark Wahlberg: “I love cricket, I’m part-owner of a Caribbean team”

Marky Mark reckons he’s getting old. We still love him

Hi Mark. How come you’ve never lost your Boston twang?
Oh, I have. I’ve just spent about three and a half months shooting Patriots Day, about the Boston Marathon bombings, and got it back.

That promises to be a heck of a movie.
There’s a huge responsibility for me to make sure I get it right; if I don’t there’s no doubt everyone in Boston will hold me accountable. But I know what Pete [Berg]’s and my intentions were and I know the movie is going to be fantastic.

Do you ever think, “And the Academy Award goes to…”
I don’t really think that way. I make movies and hope they’ll be hugely successful at the box office, first and foremost, that way my investors will continue to have faith in me and give me opportunities to make films. If those things happen, great.

Sure, but you’re on a hot run right now…
I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in lots of great projects. They don’t always turn out the way you hope, but never for lack of trying. Sometimes we make them just for sheer entertainment: Daddy’s Home, Transformers or Ted or something we hope will have an impact on people, like Deepwater Horizon.

And we hear that there’s a Daddy’s Home sequel planned…
They’ve got a great idea, and Will [Ferrell] is a fantastic guy to work with.

What’s the idea?
I can’t really tell you too much… not that it should be a big secret. They’re throwing around the idea of bringing our dads into play…

James Caan as your dad. How’s that?
Great idea. Love Jimmy. Great actor and great friend… Harrison Ford? Someone like that? But who’ll be a good dad for Will? Steve Martin? I like Steve Martin.

This writes itself… shouldn’t they give Oscars for comedy?
Good comedies, sure… At the Golden Globes they have Best Musical Or Comedy, and then there’s Salmon Fishing In The Yemen? Is that a comedy?

For Deepwater Horizon, is it true you were told it was going to be an older and a younger guy, and you thought, “Great! Me and Jack Nicholson!” And it turned out they meant you and a younger guy?
That is true, but for a different film. I got the call: “We’ve got a great two-hander. Older guy and younger guy.” And I think, “Cool! Jack, or Gene Hackman? Tommy Lee Jones? Clint [Eastwood]?” They phoned me back: “What do you think about Garrett Hedlund?” And I’m like, “For what?!” They go, “For the younger guy?” And I go, “F*ck! I’m the older guy!” At least I made it, from the young crazy guy to the older guy and the dad.

Deepwater Horizon is based on the massive oil rig explosion in 2010. Did you feel that the 11 men who died were overlooked?
Absolutely. The media assumed Hollywood was making a movie about the seagulls and fish and not acknowledging that 11 people lost their lives. So we had to reach out, people had to know our intentions, and that was comforting for them. They were happy about that and on board, and supporting in any way they could.

Would you ever bring back your character from Three Kings?
I loved Troy Barlow. Loved him. But I don’t think so. If David [O Russell, the film’s director] wanted to write it, then maybe. David and I are currently talking about doing another project, a powerful true story.

What is that true story?
It’s about a man from Helena, Montana. He was a wild badass, and suddenly found his calling and wanted to become a priest. How he got to that place was remarkable – he ended up dying of a muscular degenerative disease. But he became so inspirational that there were lines of people to speak with him. They are campaigning to make him a saint.

How about you and David O Russell making a Fighter follow-up?
I always felt there was one more story to be told: of the Micky Ward vs Arturo Gatti trilogy, and how they became close friends, though they tried to take each other’s heads off. But I’m 45 now. We better do it tomorrow ’cos I’m getting old.

You’ve got young genes, Mark. 
But I saw Grudge Match. We don’t want to wait that long.

Finally, you’re a fan of US sports. Do you follow any in the UK?
I love cricket. I’m part-owner of a Caribbean cricket team: the Barbados Tridents. That’s a real gentleman’s sport. And, of course, golf. I’ll be in England soon shooting Transformers. I’m hoping to play at all the best courses in England and Scotland. Let’s hook it up.

Deepwater Horizon is at cinemas nationwide now

[Images: Contour]

[Interview: James Gill]