Mark Wahlberg Talks 2 Guns & Transformers 4

Mark Wahlberg flew into London for an in depth press conference chat about his new movie 2 Guns, costarring Denzel Washington. During a candid chat the Ted and Boogie Nights star spoke about everything form his infamous music career, to trash talking Oscar winners, making Transformers 4 and news of other  future projects. Read the full interview transcript below, complete with inevitable rude words and hilarious trash talk.

Have you had a chance to celebrate the film being number one yet?

You know I’m just working, I’m constantly working!  I’m really proud of the movie a lot, which was why I was willing to come to London to promote it in the middle of shooting Transformers. I flew across the water for this… I see Denzel didn’t come. (smiles) He’s actually shooting in Boston right now, in my home town. He’s having a great time but he’s working nights. Thankfully Michael bay hates nights so literally all of Transformers is shot during the day. There’s only four night shoots on that one and I wasn’t in any of them.

The film seems very influenced by classic 80s action movies like Lethal Weapon, are you a fan of that genre and was that part of what appealed to you about this project?

Oh absolutely, it even goes back to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But the movie lives or dies on the chemistry between me and Denzel. It doesn’t matter whose chasing us, like in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid you never really saw who was chasing them, it was just these guys running around. I love the idea of doing that, but you have to have the right person opposite you and Denzel was obviously on the top of our wish list. We offered it to him and thankfully after Flight he wanted to do something a little lighter. He’d wanted to be in comedy like me for a long time, but coming from a serious dramatic background it’s very risky to go into comedy, career wise. If you don’t do it right it can be a big problem and it can set you back quite a ways.  Denzel had seen me do The Other Guys and then Ted. It was funny because ted came out while we were shooting this movie and he was very interested in those numbers. But he felt confident that I would have his back, it was pretty much the same thing I went through when I finally found Will Ferrel and Adam Mckay for The Other Guys. I knew I would be protected. So we made Denzel feel protected and let him know I had his back.

You and Denzel have great chemistry where does that come from?

It just happened. We’ve known each other for a while. We see each other at Sunday brunch with our wives and kids. We see each other in passing quite often, we’re actually neighbors. But it’s just one of those things it either works or it doesn’t. He was game and I was game. We also had a great director who knows me and how I like to work; he knew I like to improvise a lot. I like throwing curve balls at people and he was just up for it. It’s not one of those situations where you can be like “hey, let’s go and rehearse some chemistry”, it either works, or it doesn’t! That’s all there was to it.

What’s it like living so close to Denzel?

We live in a very small gated community. So he drives by my house all the time… never stops in and says hello, but he drives by all the time. His wife keeps saying “Bring you kids over here, let me babysit your kids” and I’m like… they’ll tear that house up! I give it an hour and they’ll be chasing them back down the street to my house.

Would you ever consider revisiting you infamous musical career?

I was the best… but no I would never revisit it!… Actually you know what there may be a time and a place for it. It would have to make sense. I was asked on the spot when they were doing this concert in Boston for the marathon victims would I perform. I said absolutely there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to try to boost people’s spirits and raise money for those victims and their families. They said would I perform with the funky bunch and I said yes. So it became this whole big thing, it was all over the papers in Boston and the Funky Bunch were calling me and they started rehearsing and all of this stuff. But then it was like I couldn’t go because I’m shooting a movie. I can’t tell Michael Bay I need to go do Good Vibrations! He’ll be like do it on the Spaceship dude I don’t give a shit. But yeah, maybe there would be a right time for music again, for a good cause or for fun, but I don’t miss it that much.

Do you have any particular memories of those times?

I remember the first time I ever came to London. I was here promoting my record and I was only used to eating the food from my corner sub shop or my mother’s cooking. So I get off the plane and first of all it was diesel fuel and driving on the wrong side of the road. I get to the hotel and they don’t have like normal chicken. I got no weed! I cancelled every interview that I had, I went home. Somebody from the record company got fired. Thankfully they hired someone else the next time I came back who liked me and had some weed for me. It made my appetite a little better, though I don’t do that sort of thing anymore. But there was no discipline with music. When I found movies I became much disciplined because I realized there was no room for screwing around. Music always promoted this attitude of being able to do whatever I wanted. Show up late, go on an hour late, and don’t go on at all. Now there’s a lot riding on it and a lot of other people who make up a movies cast and crew. There’s a lot more responsibility. So what I found in movies was this added discipline that’s helped me in my life.  I’m fine now though, I just had some beautiful chicken upstairs, though I had to quit smoking weed because I have children. That’s not a good thing.

You mentioned you like to ad lib, how many of the wonderful insults in the movie were yours?

Absolutely yes that was all me. You know what’s funny though is that the guy I was saying the worst stuff to is actually a dear dear friend of mine. He actually appeared with me in three Kings and The Lone Survivor which is coming out at Christmas time. He’s fantastic, in that new movie he actually speaks, in this movie his lines got cut out. We were sitting at the table eating dinner the night before the scene and I was reading my script out loud. I was just looking at him and I was like oh shit I’ve got a good one for you. I jotted it down and he was like what is it, what is it? I was just like… nope I’m not telling you I’m going to save it for tomorrow.

But yeah, that whole rant with the heavyset guy was pretty much improvised; everything after the bit about grilling a chicken you shoot up into some tasty barbeque to honor its sacrifice was improvised. Denzel and I were watching it with the head of the studio and he was like, you just made that up right? There were even other lines that didn’t make it in. But the guy I was trashing is actually a great guy and he’s lost a bunch of weight since then, it inspired him to actually pursue his career and get healthy.

On a more serious note can you tell us a bit about your foundation and why that’s so important to you?

That is a serious shift right there. I grew up not having much and at least not being able to identify who the real role models were. They were there but they weren’t the cool guys. I wasn’t looking up to the guy who dedicated his life to working at the boys club trying to mentor kids, or my parish priest. I was looking up to the guy who had the nice car and the hot girl, that guy who wanted to be an athlete. There weren’t too many people who’ve made it out of my community in the way that I was able to. So I’m just trying to inspire kids and motivate inner city kids and at risk youth to have a chance at success. In life, at whatever they choose to do. If I was able to accomplish what I have, then there isn’t anything they couldn’t do. But that was through hard work and by doing the right thing. So sending them to camp, paying their tuition, whatever it is. I’m not like most people; I just have a cause because it’s so close to me. I appreciate celebrities using their celebrity to bring attention to stuff, but sometimes I get annoyed if it’s just for attention and for them as much as the cause, if it’s a self-fulfilling thing then that annoys me a little bit. You’ve got shit going on in your own back yard and you’re going on about the environment or the ozone layer, then you’re flying around in a jet… you know what I’m saying. But I won’t mention any names.

Given your chemistry with Denzel and the success of the film so far have there been any talks of doing a sequel?

Yeah, we had a blast working together and we’d love to do it again. As far as doing a sequel, we’ll see how the movie continues to perform. It’s about if the audience really wants to see it. I know in the states audience have really enjoyed seeing me and Denzel together. You’re seeing two guys go at it and they’re a bit more formidable than what you’re used to seeing. Normally Denzel has somebody with him and they’re like following behind him like a puppy dog, nobody gets to say shit to him. I’m like… fuck that! I enjoy working with the best and going at the best. I remember when I was working with Jack Nicholson I said some shit to him he never heard anyone say. He never got that from anyone. Marty was like, hey what are you doing? I was like, what the fuck do you think I’m doing? I’m doing my thing. Marty didn’t think jack had ever heard anyone talk to him like that. I was like, well Jack can’t kick my ass physically, so I’m not worried about Jack. So it is what it is. But Denzel was great about it and he has the same sort of attitude towards the work. If he’s great in it but nobody else is any good the movies going to suck! so we want everyone to be great. I mean Bill Paxton is just a powerhouse in the film; Edward James Olmos was someone as well we’d always both admired. I mean yeah Denzel and I had great chemistry but that’s not enough and we definitely want other people to shine.

Your character is always eating in the film was that tough; did it mess with any kind of real life diet you might be on?

I don’t like to eat in anything. I don’t like food and I don’t like props. Some people always have to have a bit, something to play with. I hate it, I just want to talk or fight!

Last year was a crazy year for me because I did four movies in the span of 12 months; and they were all extremely different. I did a movie called broken city and the director wanted me to be as thin as possible, but I was already flirting with the idea of doing pain and gain so I was starting to put on the weight for that. But he wanted me to be thin, so I got down to 165lb for that movie then I went up to 212lb for Pain and Gain. Then I did 2 guns like thirty days after doing Pain & gain and I got back down to 180lb for the start of that. But I did that by just changing the supplements I was taking and playing a lot of basketball. Then thirty days after that I starred in Lone Survivor. It’s based on a true story, about the worst tragedy in the history of the navy seal. It was the most physically demanding movie I’ve ever done, but also the movie I’m most proud of when it comes to telling that real story. It’s something which I think is going to be very impactful on audiences all over the world, it’s not just saying go America go! You meet some unlikely heroes in the movie and you put a face on the people of Afghanistan who were also victims.

What excites you as a performer and what are you looking for in new projects?

I’m usually looking for the complete opposite of the thing I’m doing at the time or the thing I’ve just finished. So after Transformers we’re going to go make a small serious drama. Then I’m going to do Ted 2. Then we have two scripts form the writer of The Departed, he just writes these amazing pieces that I feel so connected to and these characters I really identify with.  Actually though they’re very different from the Departed.  One is based on the book American desperado around the story of John Roberts who was featured in the documentary Cocaine Cowboys. I actually met John Roberts in real life, even though he’s no longer living. That’s something we’d been developing for a long time with many writers and then Bill just said we’ve got the documentary but I just want to base it off Evan Wrights book. In just eight weeks he handed me the sickest script that I’ve ever read, with one of the greatest characters I’ve ever seen on the page. Then the other thing that we’re trying to get off the ground and attach a director to at the moment is actually a remake of a very different kind of thing. It won’t be like Planet of the Apes though; this will be a good remake!

What kind of films do you personally like to watch?

As far as seeing movies, I watch everything but most of what I’m seeing now is kid’s movies because I take my kids to the cinema all the time. So I’ve seen everything animated. My boys obviously are dying to see 2 Guns, they’re dying to see anything with guys beating each other up. The only thing I don’t like too much is sci-fi and musicals!

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

You can’t give that mark any advice, he wouldn’t listen! Everybody thinks they know it all at that age. It’s only when you get a little older that you realize that you know very little, but through growth, experiences and fatherhood that you start to learn things. It’s having daughters as opposed to being an asshole boy. All of those things. It’s not that I dislike who I was then, but thank god I survived it and thank god I have an opportunity to grow.

Does anyone ever call you an asshole now?

Everytime I get off a plane in Boston.

You’re filming Transformers with rising star Jack Reynor at the moment, how’s that been going and did you have any advice for him?

Well I just sent a memo saying don’t make eye contact with me. If you have to be in the same scene as me, only address me as Mr Wahlberg. No seriously, Jack is quite a kid and I like working with him a lot. I wanted to give him advice, more about just how Michael Bay works and how you need to be prepared for such a unique situation he’s in.  I waited twenty years to have the kind of success in movies I’m having now, so I was just grateful I was able to be prepared to appreciate it as much as I have and to understand that it’s a very unique thing. It doesn’t happen all the time. His life is going to change quite a bit when the movie comes out and that’s either going to be something you can deal with or it’s going to become a problem. But I think Jack is very well grounded. He’s smart and focused and he wants to be an actor more than he want sot be famous. That’s a very good thing as well. People call me for advice and I’m like well you won’t listen. But I’ve had many discussions with Jack and I think he’s doing great in the movie; it’s such a unique opportunity but it comes with a lot of baggage. You’re doing a big movie and Michael works at a pretty fast pace. You’ve got to be prepared in a completely different way. He’s doing a good job, I like jack but I give him a lot of shit in this movie, because I don’t know my daughter had a boyfriend. Suddenly this punk kid is thrust into my life and I have to deal with him while dealing with this very extraordinary set of circumstances. So I have quite a bit of fun in this movie.

I’ve got a little bit of Irish in me, actually most people from Boston are more Irish than people from Ireland. But I throw a lot of Irish jokes and insults at him. But I also have to entrust the most important person in my life to him at some point in the movie. So I love the human element in the movie and I can identify with the dilemma. Especially since I know it’s going to be in my near future, because I know my daughter is going  to have a boyfriend at some point and I know that’s going to be a big fucking problem for me. I’ve been talking about that a lot with Michael and now I’m like dude I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Just let me enjoy the little time I have before I have to deal with it. I’ve got a few more years left hopefully.

You have a talent for trash talking, but has it ever gotten you into trouble?

I’ve said some things that people didn’t take the right way. One pops up to mind but I won’t mention names or what I said. But it was a line from Entourage and it was a guy who was nominated for an Academy award. It was during awards season and I said, well you’re not going to win because so and so did so and so. He’s going to win. He looked at me and he was absolutely shocked and mortified. I was like no, it’s from the show, there’s a line where Johnny Drama says that. He was very upset. I saw him again in passing in the bathroom at the golden globes and Jeremy Piven was with me. I said honestly it was just a joke and he was like telling Jeremy, “do had the audacity to say this to me…”. I was like Dude I was fucking around! So it has, but that was outside of work. But with this I have the utmost respect for Denzel and Jack Nicholson, talk about two of the greatest actors of all time. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with those guys But for me I don’t get intimidated by it I get excited by it, because I know if I’m working with people who are that great I have a chance to be that much better myself. But when you’re playing roles that call for you to shit talking, I do that pretty good. That’s my comfort zone right there that’s my wheelhouse! So I just get in and do what I was hired to do, to play that part. It’s like I said, you’ve got two guys here , guys’ guys, and it’s like I know there’s people from my old neighborhood saying holy shit this movies got you and Denzel going at it.. I want to see that shit! They want to know was I able to hold my own. So like I said with Denzel I was so lucky to have him, in real life I call him Sir, but in the movie you know this is what was happening.  This is what we’re doing.

What do you think of London?

Nothing really pisses me off, the traffic sucks. But I was just such a fish out of water when I first came when I was younger. Everywhere I went was just such a complete culture shock, I went to Germany and I have the same reaction. At least here they still speak English. But I’m a big food person now and I love good people so I have a lot of close friends here. The one guy here who was able to wrangle me for the record company is still a dear friend of mine.

Howard Thorpe the guys who’s posing as a philanthropic festival runner, but he keeps all the money for himself. He has cerebral palsy, so he thinks if he raises all this money for cerebral palsy he can keep all the money for himself. I told him it doesn’t work like that! But he says that’s his wing fund, so that’s what he does. I support him I send the check.  I met Howard at a smash hits concert in 1991 and we just hit it off. I told him to go up and feel Kylie Minogue’s ass and he did it! I was like this is my kind of guy, we can hang. So now every time I come to the UK we just hang out and it’s nice to come back and hang out with my buddies.

How much of your stunts do you yourself?

When I was younger I used to get out there and I was pretty much and adrenalin junkie. But now as you get older and a little more banged up you’re like, well I’ll do whatever is actually required. In this movie Denzel and I pretty much did everything ourselves but it wasn’t like either of us were trying to be Joe Cool. I find ti so annoying when actors are just talking about how bad ass they are doing their own stunts. It’s like these guys spend a few hours in the makeup chair then a few more hours looking at themselves in the mirror, they’re not that tough and I’m not that tough. You want to see tough, go and watch a UFC fight or go to prison. But I’ll do what’s required of me.

How are things going on the action packed set of Transformers?

Yesterday I was getting smashed. There’s the rig on the car and its form Germany and it’s never been used before. So they were like this is so cool it’s never been used before.  Well no it’s a fucking problem if it’s never been used before, because they probably don’t know how to work this shit. They’ve got this camera on the end of an arm, it’s like a robot and it comes in the care and does all this cool moves and stuff. But the fucking thing keeps smashing into me, hitting me in the face and chest. I asked them about it and the people operating it barely spoke English. I was like ‘do you know how to fucking work this thing?’ I’d spent a lot of time in Germany so I said what’s your name in German and Jack was like “Wow do you speak proper German man?”  I was like mother fucking wait a second… Seriously, do you know how to operate this thing? Michael Bay’s just watching the movie getting really excited. The he’s like are you okay? I’m like, well I’m not going to do the shot, but this thing keeps squishing me. I put the seat all the way back, squishing Stanley Tucci behind me and the thing was still just like grinding against me. But everyone else was like the shot’s so cool! I was like let me drive the car and Jack can sit here! See how cool it is.

We get to see one of the female character’s shirtless charms in the movie, why didn’t you take your shirt off too?

I didn’t really think about it you know. That was a director thing. My character is a guy who’s constantly winking and hitting on the girls, but he’s got no game. If we do a second film then maybe he’ll have a girlfriend. I think maybe there was a scene where I did take my shirt off but it got cut out.

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