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  Actor Interview

DOWSE Guide to the Movies
by Tony Lee editor of Pigasus Press

Three Kings:
syndicated interview with Mark Wahlberg

This one of the first tilms of yours that there wasn't any nudity. Is that a conscious choice?

"It almost happened. They pleaded and then that didn't work, so I threatened to quit. (laughs) I told David the audience knows that I've already been captured you don't have to have a shot of me being dragged down the hallway naked. It didn't really make sense to have a shot of me naked and then have me back in my thermals during the same scene. It was obvious that the intention was nothing other than seeing me naked. So since he really couldn't come up with a good enough excuse for it to be left in, I got out of it."

Does it bother you that directors try and use your sex symbol image for films and that you get the requests for nudity?

"Well, in Boogie Nights it was there but it made sense to do it for the role I was playing, but to do it just for the sake of doing it, is not something I'm interested in. Nothing gratuitous, plus why me? Cube's probably got a nice enough behind, why not him? Why should I have to be the only one that has to be tortured, stripped down, beat up, you know? My pain is everybody else's pleasure. (laughs)"

What was the most intense scene for you in this film?

"Probably the interrogation scene. When we were filming it, everybody came out and just wanted to watch. It was like going to the movies. They had popcorn and snacks and, were like, 'hit him harder, a little bit more,' It was bad. I was asking Said, for our close ups, to try hitting me with the clipboard, and then in the nose. So that was probably the most difficult scene of them all."

This movie tends to side on honesty more so than it does on political correctness. Do you think that made it difficult?

"Yeah, it's a rare thing for a movie, especially a studio movie to go out there and be that bold. Before I started this project, my politics stopped within my own neighbourhood, I felt really embarrassed that I wasn't more aware of all the things that were going there. I didn't stay glued to the TV in '91 when this war was taking place. I paid attention and saw what was going on, and thought we were doing the right thing, and then, when I got involved in this project and found out what was really going on, I kind of found myself being obsessed with finding out as much information as I could about as many things as possible. Now, I'm quicker to go for this stuff than CNN or MSNBC."

What is the issue you struggle with the most working as an actor and being famous?

" Well, I think at this point, I have a responsibility to myself and my family to do things that make them proud and that make me proud. I mean what do you say when I go home and get a big hug and my nephew asks me if I make dirty movies. That actually happened to me. My young nephew asked me if I made dirty movies and I was like, 'What, no, what are you talking about?' He goes, well, I can't see any of the movies you're in, my mother won't let me see them, so I guess they must be dirty. So, I'm definitely thinking about stuff like that when I make a movie, and I'm very religious so I try to do projects that fit my beliefs. I hope God has a sense of humour."

Is it difficult balancing work with family commitments?

"Yeah, it's very difficult. I'm actually very lucky because for the first time in a long time my entire family was together and gratefully for something good, my brother just got married. It wasn't because somebody was in trouble or somebody was sick and everybody was there. So, it was really nice. My Mom and Dad were in the same room, in the same house, and sitting side by side in church. It was great."

What do you mean by this is the first time your family has been together in a long time?

"Well my parents separated when I was very young and we've all been kind of all over the place, and we've all had our problems growing up. We've just all been apart for a long time cause its a very big family and for us to all come together in a positive place and for such a beautiful occasion, is just very nice."

It seems more often we are seeing musicians turned actors appearing in the movies, do you think this is because musicians can sometimes identify more readily with the characters than typical actors can?

"I think it's different with everybody. I think certain people just want to use popular artists for their marquee value and they aren't really concerned with whether or not they have talent. I tried to never be taken advantage of in that aspect. I changed my name and got as far away from the music as possible."

Do you miss the music industry?

"I miss the freedom. I don't miss the industry at all. I think the music industry can be as shady as it gets."

Are you saying you don't miss the beautiful girls? (Laughing)

"I enjoyed that aspect of it for like two weeks, because I wasn't getting too many girls in my neighborhood and the ones that I could get I didn't want cause everyone else could get them too. It's just that kind of place. Same girls, same bars, same people. It was exciting for the first couple of weeks but, then I realised I had been raised a certain way and that world wasn't working for me. I felt very guilty and I realised that the people I met didn't want me, they wanted the fame. That was ok for a little while, but I want somebody who wants me for me so it couldn't have lasted. I just miss the freedom and the ability to go on stage when you want to do what you want."

Which kind of music do you listen to these days?

"Well, right now, I've been listening to really bad metal songs and power ballads from the '80s because I'm doing a movie where I'm playing the lead singer of a heavy metal band. It's called Metal Gods, and George Clooney is actually one of the producers on it."

Did you have any reservations about doing a musical role given that you are trying to put some distance between your old career and your current one?

" I may have thought about it for a second, but the role is so far from the kind of music that I was making it was ok. The idea of seeing me as a lead singer of a hair band, with big platform shoes and a cod piece and trying to talk with a really bad British accent was also really interesting. The character is actually based on the guy who replaced Rob Halford as the lead singer of Judas Priest. He is supposed to be from Akron, Ohio but the band members want him to pretend he's British to make him more credible. The band in the movie is sort of a mock up of the real Judas Priest, but they are actually called 'Black Star'. Before being chosen to replace this lead singer my character is in a tribute band called 'Nightcrawler', which turns out to be the name of a Black Star song. It's a really funny, funny script. I'm excited, because it's definitely something different. I've never done a full-blown comedy. Anytime I've gotten laughs in a movie, people are laughing at me not with me. So it's a change."

Are you going to write some music for the film?

"We're talking about it. There are really so many people who have expressed an interest and they're talking about putting really interesting combinations together like, I think, Steve Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith are going to write a song with Billy Corrigan from Smashing Pumpkins and Robert Plant is writing with somebody. Its just everybody wants to be involved."

Do you still have fans from your old singing days coming up to you and calling you Markie Mark, and does that bother you?

"No, I don't mind. I've been called worse things. But, it's fine. It sounds a little weird at times, like they're talking to somebody else because it's been a long time now, but I don't mind at all."

You mentioned your religion a couple of times, is it something that you've recently come back to or has it been constant throughout your life?

"Well, I fell off track for a while there when I was younger, but I try to do good with my life cause it makes me feel good about myself and makes me try to do good with the position that I'm in now. I think that if I don't try to do the right thing now it will leave me with more to pay for when my time comes."

Your brother is also pursuing an acting career, do you get together to talk about movies a lot?

"No. We're just talking about family and life and that sort of thing. We were very, very close growing up and then we started working together and that kind of took a toll on our relationship so we just want to get away from that and, you know, get back to where we were before. I always ask him what he's doing and how he's doing and, I go see everything that he's in but I don't talk about what I'm doing. My brother isn't the jealous type but he's competitive. We're all competitive in my family and have been since we were little kids playing sports."

What's your kind of movie?

"Good movies. Cagney movies, McQueen movies. Good movies from the '70s. There's a few that come out once in a while, you know. That style of filmmaking is coming back. I think there is a demand for something that's considered new to younger people, but obviously going to the old films."


Three Kings is available to buy on video from 26 March 2001, released by Warner Home Video

Read our review of this film (and other Wahlberg movies) at:
The New Century of Cinema

Buy this title from Blackstar

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