Making an unexpected move to comedy, Mark Wahlberg is starring alongside Will Ferrell in The Other Guys. He recently took some time out of filming to talk to Buzzine about his hesitations in taking the role, how his family has changed his career, and what may happen with Entourage.
Molly Sullivan: Can you tell us a bit of what’s going on in one scene that you’re working on?
Mark Wahlberg: We’re going to arrest Steve Coogan’s character and … we’re just expecting a couple of lawyers going in for a legal transaction that we’re going to prevent from happening. And then we’re going to realize that he’s stealing our police pension fund and there are some very dangerous people that he’s also stolen money from, so they’re keeping a very close watch on him. What happens is we realize that one of our associates has been trying to talk to us about this proxy vote and this new form of progressive investing, but we don’t listen to him because every time he says something, it’s usually some boring shit and I either slap him or push him out of the way or something, and obviously, we should have listened to him.
MS: Are you playing the straight man to Will Ferrell’s character?
MW: Well we’re both playing kind of straight, but hopefully there will be a lot of humor with that. We work well together. These guys are not the kind of guys who are like, “Okay, we want you to do a film but you’re going to have to figure it out on your own.” I feel like we are partners. I was supposed to be a homicide detective and I made a huge mistake. The entire city of New York hates me because I almost killed one of their beloved heroes, so we actually end up bonding and working together to take down the bad guys.
MS: How did you come to do a comedy?
MW: I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but I wanted to make sure I did it with the right people and the right part. Will and Adam [McKay] asked me to go to dinner with them, and I was like, “Sure.” Then they were like, “We want to do this movie and we want you for this part.” Then they asked, “Do you want to read it?” And I was like, “I trust you guys.” My only concern was you hear stories about comedians that they are really serious in real life, they’re not at all like the parts they play. I didn’t want to be in a situation like that, so meeting Will, and certainly when I started working with him, I was very relieved that he is as nice in real life as he is on screen. I’ve been on a lot of sets where there’s comedy or dramatic stuff where people are very obvious that they are going for their moments instead of trying to service the story, but I think Adam did an amazing job of writing everybody a very strong role. I think, as long as everybody tries to work together for the good of the entire movie, everybody will shine.
MS: What are you looking to do in the future?
MW: Especially now that I have kids, I don’t want to work as much. When I was working so hard, my whole life was about work, and now my priorities have changed and shifted. I’m enjoying work right now, and if I could work when I want, that’s obviously a big dream. But if the stars tend to align, then it may be a possibility that I’ll be able to work when I want and do things that I’ll be proud of, or at least hope that will turn out to be things that I’m proud of. You never know — it’s very difficult to make a good movie. You need a lot of the elements to align.
MS: Do you want to pick and choose more carefully?
MW: It really depends too, like last year or two years ago, the writer’s strike was happening and they were thinking there may be an actor’s strike so maybe they wouldn’t make movies for a while. It really depends where you’re at and what’s going on for how selective you can be. I’ve become a lot more selective, that’s for sure. I see a lot of people who work because they have to and then they find themselves in the position where they never do things they can be proud of, and I don’t want to find myself in that position.
MS: How is producing going?
MW: I love being a producer. It requires a lot less work, and certainly with a show like Entourage now going into its seventh season, it runs very smoothly. People always complain that the show is too short, the season isn’t long enough… We would love to, with an eighth season, do one last run with the guys. Maybe — we’ll see…and then kill a couple of them off.