Pain and Gain was an especially joyous film to shoot for star Tony Shalhoub. We talked to the man who was Monk for an exclusive interview as Pain and Gain hits DVD and Blu-Ray today. As we stated in our theatrical Pain and Gain review, it is one knockout movie.
Teased in the Pain and Gain trailer, Shalhoub plays Victor Kershaw, a slithery individual to say the least. He becomes the target for a kidnapping by Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie’s physical trainers in the larger-than-life true story captured by director Michael Bay in the smash hit film.
The veteran actor phoned us and talked about how making Pain and Gain was one of the most rewarding experiences of his extensive career on many levels. An appreciation for Bay and his style of work emerged, but he also cherished the front row seat where he got to see the magic of Wahlberg, who he describes as “the nicest human being.”
Movie Fanatic: Was it as much fun playing that slithery character as it was for us to watch you in Pain and Gain?
Tony Shalhoub: Yes! [Laughs] I really had a blast. First, working with those three lead actors and Michael Bay... Michael is unlike any other director I’ve ever worked with and I’ve worked with many. This guy I played, there was something about him. He’s complex and kind of slippery, but he also had an enormous inner strength and resilience to survive what he did. That’s what really made it for me.
Movie Fanatic: Speaking of Michael Bay, what did you notice that sets him apart? When I spoke to Anthony Mackie for Pain and Gain, he was ready to do another Bay film immediately. You could press play on a Michael Bay movie, and you know it’s a Michael Bay movie instantly.
Tony Shalhoub: He’s a fantastic technician, first of all. He is incredibly hands on. He’s in the trenches with you every second. There’s a level of passion and a take-no-prisoners approach to filmmaking. His vision is crystal clear. He makes a lot of demands on his people, but he’s also very demanding on himself. You just feel this level of trust that he’s going to make something that is really, really specific and fresh.
Movie Fanatic: Pain and Gain has an interesting take on the concept of the American dream. Your character had quite the American success story. What was it about the story of these three guys and what they did to your character to get their shortcut to the American dream that most appealed to you?
Tony Shalhoub: This actual case took place in the 1990s. I felt it was about this exact moment that we are in, in the 2000-teens here. There’s a sense in this country and in our consumer culture that we lost our way. The whole American dream, that concept has become perverted to such a degree that things like this in this movie are more common than people realize. There’s a sense of entitlement and desperation and jangled priorities and that’s what this movie is about.
Movie Fanatic: Speaking of the 1990s, if we had said back then that Mark Wahlberg would be one of the go-to guys in Hollywood for movies, we would probably have laughed. What did you make of Mark and his command of the screen?
Tony Shalhoub: First and foremost, he’s a wonderful individual. He’s a lovely man and incredibly bright. There’s no question about it when it comes to his level of intelligence in movies. He’s brilliant. He also works harder than so many actors right now and has his hand in all kinds of things. He seems to be unstoppable. I’ll tell you what really hit home for me was when I saw The Fighter. On Monk I worked with one of the producers of The Fighter and that movie… Wahlberg really had to push that project and it would have died many deaths if it wasn’t for his perseverance and force of sheer will and made it into the piece of art that it is.