Everyone’s favorite redeemed bad boy, Mark Wahlberg, 42, is one of only a few stars able to successfully turn from teen pop idol to respected actor, and 2015 will see a lot more of him on the big screen with four releases due out this year.
Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, Wahlberg started his lifelong career in the boy-band, New Kids On The Block. After he departed, he started Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch with his single ‘Good Vibrations’ reaching platinum. Shortly after his musical success, Wahlberg embarked on an acting career, starring alongside Danny Devito in Renaissance Man and continued with much critical acclaim. Wahlberg also produced the hit HBO show, Entourage.
He’s been married to model Rhea Durham, 35, since 2009, however, they began their relationship in 2001. They are raising their four children Ella, 10, Michael, 8, Brendan, 5, and Grace, 4, in Los Angeles.
As usual, he’s chatty, in a good mood, and is probably one of the most amiable actors in Hollywood. He’s wearing grey trousers and a white t-shirt. He looks a little unshaven and naturally handsome.
SMARTY: You’ve begun playing some older parts now...
WAHLBERG: Well, I knew it was going to happen. It’s one of the things that I obviously knew was in my near future, when (director) Michael Bay asked me to be in last year’s Transformers movie, and told me what it was about and I knew I’d be playing the dad of a teenage girl.
SMARTY: How are you with your older daughter? Are you protective of her? She was coming to Vegas with you on the set, right?
WAHLBERG: Yeah. Very, very protective.
SMARTY: To what extent?
WAHLBERG: To the furthest possible extent. (laughter) As far as the actual legal limits. Look, those things are inevitable, and hopefully she’ll find a nice guy and that will be it, (laughter) one guy forever. (laughter)
SMARTY: What are you going to do to the guy who breaks her heart?
WAHLBERG: I don’t know. I enjoy my freedom, so I don’t want to have to do anything too crazy. But I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it. Stop asking me those questions. (laughter) Only a couple of more years, because I know there’s going to be a lot more of that.
SMARTY: Let’s talk Transformers. Do you remember the first Transformers you watched and why do you think these movies were so cool?
WAHLBERG: I remembered seeing the cartoon when I was a kid in the ‘80s and they are just really fun. Me making this movie, working with Michael again, it was really appealing to me, and I loved the human element of the story and the relationship between the father and the daughter. This ordinary guy is thrust into this extraordinary situation where he has to then become kind of larger than life to be able to protect her and keep her alive – and there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to keep her alive, so I can certainly relate to that. I thought that that is obviously a universal theme that everybody can relate to.
SMARTY: What’s it like for you now to be the older guy? Playing a father type?
WAHLBERG: You know what? I agree that I am getting older, but I embrace that, because in certain situations in Hollywood, if Hollywood had their way, the girl would be my girlfriend instead of my daughter, right? But no, look, I am a dad and I embrace that.
SMARTY: Nothing sexier than a dad?
WAHLBERG: Well, I don’t know. I think I’m lucky to grow in this business and age gracefully and so I have no problem with that. I am married now with four kids and I don’t think I have looked in the mirror in 10 years.
SMARTY: Did you lose weight?
WAHLBERG: I did. Michael wanted me to look a certain way in the movie, so I exercised and trained.
SMARTY: You keep switching for every movie – you gain weight, you lose weight.
WAHLBERG: I don’t have a little magic pill or anything. I exercise and change my diet. For Gambler, I went from 197 to 137 [pounds], and I just jumped rope for two hours a day. I drank only liquid, on a liquid diet.
WAHLBERG: No, only milk. In the morning you put a scoop of fiber, and then at the rest of the day, you put this little powder in and you have essential proteins and vitamins, but just that for over a month. A total month of no food, and then afterwards, twice a day, you can have greens and you can have as many steamed vegetables as you want.
SMARTY: What do you do during that first phase of that diet?
WAHLBERG: I am miserable. My wife and everybody was just like, “Eat! Stay away from us!’ (laughter) I was very cranky.
SMARTY: What was your first treat after all this?
WAHLBERG: Oh, God! I had a pancake breakfast with bacon and eggs and toast and an English muffin, and I remember ordering the meal and then the guy came with the English muffin, and I go: “Dude, I have been waiting four months for this fucking English muffin. Take it back, and make it golden brown.” (laughter) But it’s a place that I frequent, so he’s not a stranger, he’s a friend.
SMARTY: People are obsessed with trying to lose weight and trying new diets.
WAHLBERG: There is no trick. Everyone wants the easy road. The trick is, I was getting up at 1:15 in the morning getting exercise for two hours, eating very little to nothing, drinking just liquids for thirty days, as I said. So now I’m just eating everything I can. I probably just had eight meals already today, (laughter) because I didn’t want to take too long, and Michael freaked out when he saw me, because he wanted to do a bunch of additional pickup shots, and I had hair down to here and I was super skinny. He was like: “Dude, not cool! You have got to get back!” So I started eating and training again.
SMARTY: Are you going to have a role in the new Entourage movie?
WAHLBERG: A small role. I will appear as myself. Just one scene, a little cameo.
SMARTY: Do you feel you bring some maturity also to the movie a little bit more?
WAHLBERG: Yeah, being the lead in the movie, you have got a responsibility to be a good example and you have got kids around. This is a business that is tempting and has tainted many a young man and woman, and it will continue to for as long as Hollywood exists. But having had that experience myself, and now being older and wiser, you want to set a good example and set the tone for everybody else in the movie.
SMARTY: Do you still box?
WAHLBERG: I haven’t boxed for awhile, but I jumped rope to lose all the weight. I was working out in the ring today, but not boxing. It’s hard to get people to come in there for little to no money.
SMARTY: What would you do next, physically? What would be the great challenge for you that you haven’t done before?
WAHLBERG: Well, there was always the idea of doing one more Fighter movie, just because everyone always said, “You can’t make the story of Mickey Ward without having the three great fights with him and Arturo Gotti.” And one of them is considered the best round in the entire century.
SMARTY: Mickey is in great shape now.
WAHLBERG: Yeah. But I am 42, and that door is kind of closing, so if we can get the script in time...
SMARTY: 42 is not that old.
WAHLBERG: No it’s not, but you are playing somebody who is 30, 30-something. And I don’t know, I saw that trailer with De Niro and Stallone, I was like… (laughter)
SMARTY: You didn’t want to see the movie?
WAHLBERG: Well, if I have been going to the movies… like the last movie I saw in a theater, we went to see The Muppets with my kids. And then before that, it was Peabody and Sherman, and before that it was the Lego Movie.
SMARTY: Can you talk about your love for cars? Could you repair a car and how many cars do you have?
WAHLBERG: I have five or six cars, and I can’t fix anything that’s fuel injected, as far as the engine goes, but I used to work at a garage. I used to drive a tow truck. Yeah, anything with an engine or a carburetor I could probably fix. With a manual, I could probably take anything apart and put it back together.
SMARTY: You always mentioned that you are more of a businessman right now. So did you approach Transformers as a businessman? Like, ‘Okay, I have a franchise now?’
WAHLBERG: No, because I was hired as an actor, so I am not producing the movie, I am just an actor for hire. And I like that. After a long year of pushing my own passion projects up a steep hill to get made, it was nice to just show up, go in my trailer, take a nap till Michael came, have lunch, and take a little nap after getting beat up for most of the day. So it was a nice change of pace. But no, I approached this role and every other role the same. I try to make it as realistic as possible and I do my job to the point where Michael is satisfied.
SMARTY: But it doesn’t hurt financially, right?
WAHLBERG: We will see. (laughter) I will see. (laughter)
SMARTY: Yes. So, as a father yourself, are you as strict with your sons as you are with your daughters?
WAHLBERG: Unfortunately, there is a double standard. Boys get away with more than girls, but being a boy and being an asshole for quite some time, but before I had a daughter, that taught me to respect women the way I should. I know all the things that can happen, so yes, I will be very overprotective. I was in Vegas yesterday, we were at Cinema-Con, and I took my daughter with me. She had just done a play at school and another play at the Academy of Dramatic Arts, so I wanted to give her a little treat and just do something alone with her. I realized that I just took my daughter to Vegas. (laughter) I had said: “This is the first time she’s been in Vegas and hopefully the last.” I can’t help but being overprotective.
SMARTY: But what changed you? Because you mentioned that you used to be an asshole with women and now you are very different. So at what point did it change for you?
WAHLBERG: Well, as you start to get older and more mature it happens, but it really came full circle when I had a daughter and I wasn’t just a complete jerk. I had my feelings hurt when I was young, and then after that I never really trusted, and so therefore, I couldn’t be trusted. But once I had a little girl… it’s just, being a father and having a girl makes you a better man. If it doesn’t make you a better man and change, then there’s something really wrong with you.
SMARTY: Is your daughter in the movie?
WAHLBERG: All four of my kids shot a scene in the movie. It was like the first time that they were excited about me making a movie, and it was something that they felt they could potentially see, so I was mentioning that to Mike and he was like: ‘Oh, okay.’
SMARTY: Is it true that you try to take your wife on a date once a week?
SMARTY: Good man!