"2 Guns" with Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg is everywhere this year. Look behind you. There he is! Oh wait... he's gone. You spooked him.

He does have a lot of movies coming out though, with the excellent Pain & Gain and also pretty good 2 Guns this month alone, plus he stars as a US Marine in the story of a mission gone tragically wrong in Lone Survivor and he picks up where Shia LeBeouf left off in Michael Bay's Transformers 4.

You can't walk into a room without finding Mark Wahlberg in there, which is exactly what I did today. He was a little late due to jet lag, but that didn't dampen his enthusiasm or erode his charm, possibly because 2 Guns is currently the No 1 movie in America.

"I really like the movie a lot, and I'm proud of it, which is why I was willing in the middle of shooting Transformers, to fly across the water to come promote it... I see Denzel didn't come."

2 Guns, based on the BOOM! Studios comic book of the same name which you haven't heard of, owes a great deal to the movies like Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours. It's a good mix of action and comedy, which is something we haven't really seen done well for a while; "The movie lives and dies on the chemistry of me and Denzel. It doesn't matter who's chasing us. Like Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid; you never really saw who was chasing them, it was just these two guys doing their thing. Thankfully after 'Flight' [Denzel] wanted to do something lighter."

He's not really known for his comedy, but Denzel Washington is a very disarming man who could easily transition from being bad ass to being funny in a bad ass way, much like Wahlberg himself going from The Departed to The Other Guys, or Contraband to Ted. "It's very difficult to go into comedy. It's a risky thing, careerwise, and if you don't do it right it can be a big problem and it can set you back a way... but he felt confident that I would have his back. I like to improvise a lot, and be constantly throwing curveballs at people, and he was just up for it."

"Most of the time you see someone with Denzel and they're just walking behind him like a little puppy dog, and no one gets to say shit to himI was like... fuck that! ...

..I enjoy hanging with the best and going at the best. We have the same attitude to the work. We want everybody to be great. Bill Paxton is a power house, Edward James Olmos is someone that we've always admired. We just want everyone to be great."

At 42 years old, Mark isn't the newest kid on the block (90's joke for you there) but that doesn't stop him putting his body through all manner of stress for the job. He's done four films in the past year, slimming down to 165lbs (11 1/2 stone) for Broken City, then bulking back up to 212lbs (15 stone) and then a month later he did 2 Guns and had to drop down to 180lbs (12 stone odd). And yet Christian Bale gets all the praise. It's a bloody liberty.

How many of his own stunts is able to do then? "As you get older, you get a little more banged up. In this particular movie Denzel and I probably did most of it, but it wasn't like either he or I was like 'Ok, let's be cool...' and I find it so annoying when actors sit and talk about how bad ass they are and they do all their own stunts... meanwhile these guys spend about an hour and a half in the make-up chair, another hour looking at themselves in the mirror... it's like, 'you're not that tough dude and I'm not that tough.' You wanna see tough? Go watch a UFC Fight or... go to prison! You'll see tough." 

Wireless recently sat down with Bruce Willis for RED 2, who when asked about his musical career was very quick to deflect and self-deprecate, saying that he was never a very good singer. "I would agree with that." he said with a deadpan look on his face, but how does the artist formerly known as Markie Mark feel about his own time behind the mic? "I was the best. I would not revisit it... but actually you know what, no. There may be a time and a place for it."

He was asked to perform with his old outfit, The Funky Bunch, for a concert to benefit victims of the Boston Bombing (Wahlberg is of course from Boston. Just listen to him talk.) and he said he was down for it. "There isn't anything I wouldn't do to boost peoples' spirits and raise money for those people and their families. But it turned into this whole big thing in the papers in Boston, the Funky Bunch was calling me, they were rehearsing... and I was like 'I can't go. I'm shooting a movie.' You know? I can't tell Michael Bay 'Hey I gotta go do Good Vibrations!' "

Reflecting on his youth in music, Mark is honest, "There was no discipline with music, and when I found movies I became very disciplined. Music always promoted this attitude of being able to do whatever I wanted. I'd show up late, I don't show up at all... but there's a lot of other people that make up a movie crew so there's a lot more responsibility."

What advice would Mark Wahlberg give to Markie Mark? "You couldn't give him any advice. He wouldn't listen."

Mark Wahlberg loves movies. Making them, being in them, producing them, talking about them. He can't get enough, and that's made clear by the warm and enthusiastic way he answers questions during what, for him, is probably the hundredth press event he's done for this film alone. You'd think he'd be knackered, but he's not slowing down.

"After Transformers we're gonna go make a small, serious drama. Then I'm going to do Ted 2, and then we've got 2 scripts from Bill Monahan (The Departed)... one is based on the book 'American Desperado' ... and then something else that we're close to getting off the ground, but I don't wanna jinx it. It's a remake but it won't be like Planet of the Apes or Truth About Charlie. This will be a good remake."

In terms of movies already in the can, he's got Lone Survivor coming early next year; based on the true story of "Operation Red Wings" in which a SEAL team went into Afghanistan to assassinate a Taliban leader and only one man returned. "He was there, on the set, so I really had to bring my A-Game for that. That was the most physically demanding movie I've ever done, but also the movie I'm most proud of."

It's ALSO the movie director Peter Berg wanted to make so badly he agreed to do Battleships as a trade off, so it must have been worth it. 

Wahlberg also produced a pilot with 2 Guns director Baltasar Kormákur called "The Missionary" about a Cold War era spy. No wonder he's bloody jet lagged.

2 Guns is out Friday 16th of August and also starring Bill Paxton, Paula Patton and James Marsden and Pain & Gain is out August 30th, directed by Michael Bay and also starring Anthony Mackie and The Rock.

Words by Gazz Wood

Gazz Wood is a writer from The Northern Film School at Leeds Met University. As well as writing for Wireless he can also be heard on the monthly podcast Possibly of Interest with TV Producer Howard Cohen and special guests from the world of British TV and Cinema, plus his own weekly show Gazz Wood Has A Podcast