Mark Wahlberg is a very busy guy. In addition to acting, Wahlberg has become increasingly involved in producing not only feature films, but a handful of original series as well. With Wahlberg’s new crime thriller Contraband opening next week, earlier today Steve got the chance to speak with the hard-working actor. While we’ll have the full interview up next week, we wanted to share what Wahlberg had to say regarding The Fighter sequel, the Entourage movie, and Michael Bay’s small-budget dark comedy Pain and Gain.
While it was previously reported that Wahlberg had passed on Pain and Gain, the actor revealed that he’s still very much considering the project and he’s currently waiting on a new draft of the script. Hit the jump to see what Wahlberg had to say concerning all the projects.
Given that the 2010 Oscar-winning drama The Fighter only covered a small portion of professional boxer Micky Ward’s life, many involved with the film expressed interest in continuing Ward’s story in a follow-up. The second film would center on Ward’s famous fights with opponent Arturo Gatti, but word on the sequel has been quiet for some time. As he was a producer on the first film, Wahlberg is intricately involved in the follow-up and revealed that they’re currently waiting on a script by Scott Silver (who wrote The Fighter):
“It’s definitely a priority but I don’t think it’s necessarily gonna be a sequel, it’s really kind of it’s own thing about the Ward/Gatti wars and this crazy relationship that came out of these fights. After the first fight they became very close friends, yet two more times they went in there and tried to kill each other and caused a lot of physical and mental damage that really took a toll on them, and certainly still takes a toll on Micky to this day. Scott Silver is gonna be writing it and hopefully he’s writing as we speak.”
The Ward/Gatti saga is some dramatic stuff to say the least, and should be ripe with emotional content to anchor the follow-up film. Regarding when Wahlberg thinks production could begin, he’s hoping to get to it within the next year and a half:
“Well [I’d like to start shooting] sooner rather than later, I mean I’m not getting any younger although Stallone did film Rocky 6 when he was 60, and he filmed the first one when he was 29. But I would like to do it within the next year, year and a half.”
A director has yet to be announced, and last we heard The Fighter director David O. Russell’s involvement was still up in the air, but once Silver finishes the script we should have a better idea of where things are going.
Another highly anticipated project that Wahlberg’s involved with is a feature film version of the HBO series Entourage. Wahlberg served as executive producer throughout the show’s seven year run and as the eighth and final season aired this past summer, talk turned to the movie. An Entourage feature has been promised for quite some time, and Wahlberg revealed that the status of the pic is currently in the show’s creator’s hands.
“[Series creator] Doug Ellin is hopefully writing that right now.”
Regarding Pain and Gain, the true-story dark comedy is set to be director Michael Bay’s next feature. The notoriously big-budget-minded director is going small-scale with this passion project, which centers on two bodybuilders who get caught up in an extortion ring and kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong. Wahlberg was rumored to be circling the project alongside Dwayne Johnson, but shortly following the announcement a trade report claimed that Wahlberg had passed on the role. Wahlberg was surprised to learn that he’d turned the role down, setting the record straight by saying he’s done no such thing:
“No, I didn’t drop out of it either, they’re waiting on a rewrite for the script… I just spoke to Ari [Emanuel] who represents me as well as Michael and we’re waiting on a script.”
The actor went on to give some high praise for the project, which is certainly outside Bay’s normal wheelhouse:
“We talked about Dwayne and he’s got some great ideas for the cast. I think it’s gonna be something that people are gonna be very surprised that Michael’s gonna do, but I think he’s gonna do a great job with it.”
Steve then mentioned how crazy the story is and Wahlberg replied:
“It’s insane! They better tell me quick so I can get out there and start bulking up. I’ve got the gym, I’m ready to go.”
The original script for Pain and Gain was written by Captain America screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, but it’s unknown if they’re the ones currently reworking the script. The source material for Pain and Gain is some fascinating/insane stuff, and it’s not hard to see Wahlberg crushing the role. Hopefully we’ll hear more soon, as Bay has previously stated that he hopes to start filming this spring.