In the first part of our Mark Wahlberg Broken City interview, the star extolled the virtues of working with Russell Crowe (and scooped Transformers 4!). As we delved deeper with the actor, it became clear that the biggest motivating factor for making Broken City was to work with a director he had admired for decades, Allen Hughes.
“I actually reached out to him after I saw Menace II Society,” Wahlberg recalled. “I expressed what a big fan I was and I was really just starting my acting career then. We would both run into each other at special occasions over the years. I was aware of the Broken City script, but hadn’t read it. Then he read it and called and said, ‘I keep seeing your face when I read this. Can you take a look at it?’”
Wahlberg finally sat down and read the story of a man who gets caught up in a political scandal involving the titular city’s mayor (Crowe).
“I wanted to figure out a way to do it. But, I wanted us to do it on our own so we could have control,” he said.
Broken City also stars a plethora of huge names. “The script is really so good that it attracted all the talent that is involved in the project, both in front of and behind the camera. Russell (Crowe) read it and responded right away. It’s funny because everybody that read the script that was interested in playing the Mayor role, loved my character Billy. When I read it, I wanted to be the Mayor,” Wahlberg said and laughed.
“But obviously I was too young and some of them were too old to play Billy. But (Crowe) read it and responded right away, and so did Catherine (Zeta-Jones), Jeffrey (Wright), Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler and everyone else.”
The film has a real film noir feel to it, something Wahlberg is new to in his film career. That sense emanated from his director. “That was something Allen was interested in doing from the beginning and I was certainly on board with that,” Wahlberg said.
The story, teased further in the second Broken City movie trailer, also compelled in its man making right scenario, especially in this case where it is a true David versus Goliath situation. “I’m basically trying to right a wrong -- a huge injustice. I’m defending myself from attackers, whether it’s in Staten Island as a private investigator, or investigating this guy who’s having an affair,” Wahlberg said of his private eye.
“I’m taking pictures and a neighbor attacks me with a bat -- so there’s a melee there. Then, I’m about to be attacked by a raging lunatic!”
But, it is when Crowe’s Mayor character crosses a line and takes this from a professional disagreement and makes it personal, it allows Wahlberg to amp up his end of the battle. “When he comes looking for me in a house, my investigation and my attempt to go after the mayor has gotten really dark and dangerous,” Wahlberg said.
When it comes to favorite scenes in Broken City, Wahlberg doesn’t even blink.
“Because of these random acts of violence, I find it necessary to carry a gun. Thank God because in this one scene, I get into this situation with this giant. I just want to make it fair because I know we’re going to get into it. So, I just shoot him in the leg from behind. After I intentionally shoot him, I say, ‘That was an accident.’ I’m thinking maybe there’s still a way for us to negotiate the situation," Wahlberg said and laughed at the scene featured in the Broken City trailer.
“Then, of course, the actor grabs me with one hand, the next thing you know I’m on the ceiling and the wall and the desk and everything else. The actor was a very kind gentleman, but he didn’t understand that we were making a movie and he didn’t know his own strength! He didn’t know what ‘faking it’ is at all. I don’t mind making it real when I’m winning, but not when I’m getting my ass kicked by a giant. I thought it would be a funny moment.”