Interview By: Dan Portnoy
Since a supporting role in 1994′s the Renaissance Man, actor Mark Wahlberg has been in fifteen movies, starring in thirteen of them. This soft spoken leading man brings a certain sensitive charm to his roles, along with the ability to blow a fuse and erupt; shaking the surface of the man you thought was Mark Wahlberg. But face to face you see his charm, sense of humor, and the fact that he’s not afraid to poke fun. It’s what you would expect from this 30 something actor, minus the outbursts of course. And with the release of his new film, Four Brothers, which marks Wahlberg’s sixteenth film, audiences will get another look at the actor who has become a household name.
In Four Brothers, Wahlberg plays Bobby Mercer, the adopted child of the sweet good natured Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan). When she is gunned down in a suspicious liquor store robbery, Bobby along with his three adopted brothers, Angel (Tyrese Gibson), Jeremiah (Andre Benjamin), and Jack (Garrett Hedlund), swear to find the people responsible and avenge their mother’s murder. In a tough Detroit neighborhood, these four bad-ass brothers ask questions, kick down doors, and muscle their way through the petty thugs and big time gangsters to find their mother’s killer.
The “tough guy show no mercy” persona is something that made Wahlberg such a pleasure to watch. Compassion is not a luxury that the character Bobby possesses, except towards his family members that is. However, unlike his character in the film, Wahlberg does have a few soft spots, one of them is religion. “I’m goin to church in one hour,” he says earnestly, “I go once a week, every Sunday.” Church is the last thing on his character’s Bobby Mercer’s mind. Recently released from
Even before John Singleton was attached to direct Four Brothers, Wahlberg was already on board. “I read it and loved it. John hadn’t signed on it yet but it was like one of those movies that I grew up watching.” So needless to say Mark saw a lot of potential in the script. “It was the first time I read a script in a long time where I was like ‘wow this could be really good.” His assumptions were correct and once the cast was assembled and Singleton was directing, the project seemed to have even more promise.
In addition to the script, the chemistry of the four central characters and the way the story was told really helped glue the movie together. “That was the key to making the movie work. We knew we had a good script, but we knew if we had great chemistry and guys that just really gelled well together, then we could have a great movie.” By really making the audience feel like Angel, Bobby, Jack, and Jeremiah were brothers, their relationships to each other and their mother would seem more genuine and give the movie a greater emotional impact.
As the oldest brother, Bobby would dish out most of the insults in the more light hearted scenes, mostly to the youngest brother, Jack. They all just seemed really comfortable with each other, like real siblings. For Wahlberg, the part of the instigator or the jokester wasn’t much of a stretch for him. “I felt most qualified to play that part; I’ve been a professional ball-breaker for most of my life.” Being the youngest of five brothers, Wahlberg learned to rely on his sharp wit and quick comebacks; that is until he was old enough to physically stand his ground.
With Four Brothers, the jokes and insults
Not only is the character chemistry on the show fantastic but it has created an even bigger star out of Jeremy Piven, the agent with the sharp sense of humor. When Wahlberg first asked Jeremy to be on the show as Ari Gold, agent to movie star Vincent Chase, he was hesitant. “I love telling him every day that I was right and he was wrong cause he was a little on the fence about doin’ the show, and I told him it was gonna be a big hit and he was going to become the star that he should be because of the talent he possesses. And every day I call him up and love to tell him ‘I told you so.’” What can you say; I guess Wahlberg just knows how to pick em’.
Coming up, Wahlberg is signed onto the Scorsese film, The Departed, in which he plays a dark character similar to Bobby Mercer in Four Brothers. Also lined up is the Disney movie, Invincible, in which he plays a die hard Philadelphia Eagle’s fan that gets a chance to play for the team. And oh yes, Entourage will continue to bring in the fans on television while Wahlberg brings them to the movie theater. With his career soaring, Wahlberg is taking things as they come, the good with the bad. And right now they’re coming fast, and things are definitely good.