Mark Wahlberg thrilled last January in Contraband and now he's back in a first of the new year release that also promises to thrill, Broken City. The blockbuster actor, who just signed on to star in Transformers 4, sat down with a limited group of journalists to mark the release of the latest Broken City trailer.
Wahlberg talked about the entity of awesomeness that is Broken City and starring with Catherine Zeta Jones and Russell Crowe, but also gave a bit of a dish on the next chapter of the Hasbro toy series as Wahlberg has agreed to star in Transformers 4.
Shown off in the first Broken City trailer, Wahlberg portrays a cop yes, but he is a universe away with his Billy Taggart and his last law enforcement officer than with previous roles. “My character in The Departed had no redeeming qualities whatsoever,” Wahlberg said.
“This character is faced with a whole different set of choices and challenges. I just found it really interesting because I could understand why he did it. What happens to him in his backstory at the beginning of the movie, it was just a terrible miscarriage of justice.”
The actor, who most recently launched a million hilarious Ted quotes starring opposite a teddy bear, found the story of the need for right to triumph over wrong too compelling to pass up.
“The system failed in his specific case," he said. "But it is still that thing of you want to do the right thing and you want to have had the system to have done the right thing and then there is this issue of possibly taking down the mayor and helping a lot of innocent people. He is going to have to risk losing his own freedom in order to right that wrong.”
That clear cut human trait recalled another film he treasures. “I just loved that about him and it reminded me of when I saw Chinatown with my dad. It was like, here is a great character in a good story with interesting twists,” Wahlberg said. He believes that that trend is currently in flux. “Hollywood doesn’t have a tendency to make these movies all that often -- but, if you look at this year, last year and the year before -- all the Oscar contenders that make money have been adult-themed movies.”
Broken City follows Wahlberg’s investigator as he delves deeper into a mystery involving Russell Crowe and his onscreen wife Catherine Zeta Jones. Ever the appreciator of cinematic brilliance, the man from Boston treasured every moment with the Gladiator star. Yet, there was a bit of apprehensiveness before the Australian showed up on the set.
“We were shooting for five weeks before Russell came in and everybody was like, ‘What’s he going to be like?’ We had such a great energy and atmosphere on the set, and he showed up and had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time,” Wahlberg recalled.
“He had monologue after monologue and he just showed up, walked in the room and Allen (Hughes, director) said, ‘Do you want to rehearse?’ He looked at me, I looked at him, and I said, ‘Let’s do this shit.’”
As Movie Fanatic stated in our Man with the Iron Fists review, Crowe inhabits dark characters effortlessly. Wahlberg marveled at the opportunity to go one-on-one with one of the greats. “The great thing about it was, we had the ability because of the way it was written, to just go at each other,” Wahlberg said.
“We were trying to out-do each other as characters, but not as actors and individuals. So it made for some really great duels -- but in service of the movie and not necessarily for each other or the individual. He’s a consummate pro. He came in and just nailed it. It was nice to see somebody who’s as prepared as yourself. It’s like, oh, some people still do care, and they do take this seriously.”
Wahlberg’s persona as someone who is continually trying to better himself, no matter what he is doing, was on display filming Broken City -- especially opposite the mighty Crowe.
“For me, working with the best out there really gives you an opportunity to show what you can do, and they always elevate your game anyway. You’ve seen great actors in bad movies with bad material. It’s got to all work and click. And it’s all got to be on the page,” Wahlberg said.
But, there is a little more needed to make the extraordinary and Crowe possesses it in droves. “Then you hope you get sprinkled with a little bit of that magical fairy dust on top from the movie gods.”
Oh yeah, then there's that little film where Wahlberg agreed to star in Transformers 4 after appearing in director Michael Bay's latest -- a film that saw its Pain and Gain trailer premiere just yesterday!
"I had a great experience working with Michael. We really hit it off. We complement each other so well on set and we took something that was really good and I think we made something special. He said to me, 'What do you think about doing a Transformers movie with me?' I said, 'Well, what do you want me to do?' He told me and I said, 'Absolutely!' I think it will be the most challenging role that I’ve played and it’s an opportunity for me to do something extremely different," Wahlberg said.
"It’s going to be very different from what the first ones were. I’m excited about it. I talked to Steven Spielberg and I talked to Brian Grazer and I said, 'Don’t worry guys, this is not me taking a paycheck and running with it.' We want to do something special with it."