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Charlie Rose
Interview
December 4, 2000 (originally Oct. 13, 2000)


Charlie Rose: Mark Wahlberg is here with 3 recent hit films. A former rapper and model who has finally earned the respect he's been looking for as an actor. His breakthrough performance in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights. Since then he has starred in critically acclaimed films Three Kings and this summer's blockbuster, The Perfect Storm. His latest film The Yards is about the corruption in the New York City subway system. Here's a clip from the film.

Clip (narration, bathroom scene)

CR: Great to have Mark Wahlberg back at this table. Welcome back.
MW: Thank you sir.
CR: Man it's going well for you, isn't it?
MW: So far, so good.
CR: George Clooney was here and talked about, he directed them to come get you for Perfect Storm, is that right?
MW: He did.
CR: He said there's this guy . . .
MW: Yeah, yeah.
CR: Good to have friends like that in the business.
MW: It's a very rare thing. George is one of those guys who and he's always been like that. I certainly got to know alot of his friends and guys he's grown up with. Because he keeps those type of people around. He is very solid. He actually recommended me for the part before he was even really involved in playing the other part himself.
CR: Tell me about this film, because it's different from The Perfect Storm and all the hoopla that went with it.
MW: Yes, we actually started to make this movie right before I did Three Kings, which was a long time ago. God it seems like forever and James Gray, the film's director, was certainly in the position where it wasn't going to be a Perfect Storm type of movie. So the funds were somewhat limited. But he was able to shoot probably 90% of the movie and the studio was very happy with the way that part of the movie turned out, so he in turn got more money and was able to go back and shoot more stuff. But with everybody's schedule, I was off doing another movie, he had to wait, you know, which is not an easy thing for him. The studio was working to put the movie out early on.
CR: Here's a scene between Wahlberg and Phoenix (Nightclub Scene)
CR: The fact that you have been able to do what you have been able to do, thinking about the sort of, kind of things from the modeling for all the Calvin Klein stuff, to where you are today. What one quality do you think you had that made you and gave you and allowed you, pushed you to achieve what you have?
MW: Um, I think it's my willingness to learn. I'm pretty relentless when it comes to that. You know, I certainly knew everything about growing up in the streets. You know, what it took to survive on the street corner in Dorchester. But this is a whole new world for me. So you know, just being able to take advantage of things that I've seen and you know, the things that I've been exposed now in my career.
CR: Are you intuitive?
MW: Ah, at times.
CR: You do alot of research?
MW: Yes. Fanatic.
CR: Fanatic?
MW: Yeah.
CR: Give me an example, other than the one day on Rikers Island.
MW: Ah. (Purses lips)
CR: Take The Perfect Storm.
MW: Perfect Storm. Well I'm from Massachusetts, so having the accent is pretty easy, although it's been a couple years trying to shake it. But going on, I lived at the Crow's Nest, which is the bar where all these guys hang out. I ended up living in my character's room, but you know, I certainly didn't want to say to the family 'oh God, I'd like to stay in his room' this and that. It was something after really building a strong relationship with the family, you know, did they offer to let me stay there. But you know, going on a fishing boat and spending 2 or 3 days at a time. Of course there's a consultant there that can tell you, but I just feel I need to know everything my character would have known about his job or. . .
CR: Who has helped you the most in understanding acting?
MW: I'd have to say most of the filmmakers I've worked with, all for different reasons. For instance, you know, in this movie it was very much a challenge because of the subtlety in the role in which the part is played. I hadn't really done it before. There was always something to hide behind whether it be action in the scene or a prop or something, the ability to raise my voice, be more physical. This is more about reacting opposed to acting and working with the people I did it was . . .
CR: The second scene with Willie (Phone conversation)
CR: Boogie Night was a big breakthrough for you. You did not appear in Magnolia.
MW: No.
CR: Paul Thomas Anderson had a bunch of other people from one film to the other, why not?
MW: We talked about doing something in the movie. It would have been a very small role and I was actually in the middle of doing something else at the time. We're still very close and talk all the time. We're talking about doing something in the future. But yeah, myself, Burt Reynolds and Don Cheadle didn't appear.
CR: Who did?
MW: And we gave them crap for it.
CR: A hard time?
MW: Of course, but I would love to be in every one of Paul Thomas Anderson's movies because you know he's such an amazing talent.
CR: As good as you've known?
MW: Yes, as good as I've worked with. Yeah between Paul Thomas Anderson, James Gray and David O'Russell, you know, 3 really, really talented guys.
CR: From The Yards, Three Kings and Boogie Nights, How did you get Boogie Nights?
MW: Ah, it just kinda happened by accident. They put the script in front of me and of course it was described as a movie about porno, I played a kid who's a porno star, so it wasn't a turn on for me. I was trying to get away from modeling and keep my clothes on. I read 30 pages and said either he's a genius or this guy wants to see me pull off the underwear. I went and sat down with Paul and after 5 minutes I was just amazed. I ran home and then I had another meeting with him and read through scenes and he felt like I was the right guy for it.
CR: Here's a scene from Boogie Nights. (Mother & son confrontation)
CR: Ah, the movie business, you like it.
MW: Yes. Yes. I enjoy, what I really enjoy about it is being on the set and being creative with a group of people. The business itself. It's alot easier for me to deal with than say the music business.
CR: Why?
MW: Ah well, I don't know. I think alot of people will laugh, but I think people who've been in both will understand a little better. But there's a little more honesty out there. The people I . .
CR: The movie business?
MW: You see, You hear (Laughter in background)
CR: Yeah right.
MW: The people I've worked with aside from the few which are notorious for being the biggest liars and you know cutthroats in the business, ah been very straightforward. Again I really deal with filmmakers, very few producers. But I've been lucky. I've heard the horror stories. You know, but I surround myself with a great group of guys. My manager is a very close friend. My agents are all in it for the right reasons for me.
CR: How have you changed, do you think since you've had this success?
MW: I've changed in a number of ways. I feel sometimes I'm trying to do too much too soon. In terms of soaking up information and learning about as many different things as I can. I really need to take it one thing at a time but you know I feel kinda reborn. I've spent alot of time doing the wrong thing and fighting the inevitable which is what I did as a child. So now I'm really fascinated by life and you know what life has to offer.
CR: . . .learning curve going straight up. Planet of the Apes, Tim Burton directs you and who else?
MW: Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth, Michael Clark Duncan, um. . .
CR: Teaching you how to rid a horse. . .
MW: Yes.
CR: Not easy.
MW: The hardest thing I've ever done in my life, It's worse than riding a bike and I had a really bad . . .
CR: City boy, never seen a horse except with a cop on it.
MW: Again, being cocky I said 'oh yeah, not a problem.' I jump right on the horse and of course I get thrown right off. I did the same thing when I said I could ride a bike. Got a brand new bike, my entire family was out there. My dad pushed me down a hill. I stayed on it, but I didn't know how to stop it.
CR: Good Luck.
MW: Thank you Charlie.

Copyright 2000 Charlie Rose/PBS/Mark Wahlberg

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