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Mark Wahlberg: 'Planet'-ary man
July 30, 2001

In his movie career, Mark Wahlberg has seen plenty of action. He's played a Persian Gulf War soldier (1999's "Three Kings"), a New England fishing boat mate ("The Perfect Storm," 2000) and a porn star (1997's "Boogie Nights").

But none of those films has offered the kind of pedal-to-the-metal, all-stops-out derring-do as his latest role, that of astronaut Leo Davidson in the new "Planet of the Apes." Wahlberg may not enter Indiana Jones territory, but he does get to crash-land a spacecraft, run through the jungle and lead a revolt -- not too bad for a human.

Wahlberg sat down with "Showbiz Today Reports" correspondent Bill Tush to talk about his latest film.

CNN: They're making a big deal the fact that Mark Wahlberg is doing his first action-hero role. Do you look at it that way?

Mark Wahlberg: Yes, I noticed that; I don't know why.

CNN: Would you consider it your first (action-hero role)?

Wahlberg: Well, I've done other things in the past that have been action-oriented, but this is the first time it's me alone, (a) big movie and a much more heroic character. "Perfect Storm," for instance, had a lot of action but I end up dying. I lose the fight, so I'm not that heroic.

CNN: I understand you just got a call out of the blue from (director) Tim Burton saying, "I want you to be the lead in this movie." And your reaction was?

Wahlberg: Where do I sign? Where do I show up? What time? I'll be there early.

Well, it didn't happen quite like that. He had called and he wanted to have a meeting, a general meeting and you know they had mentioned that he was doing this movie, "Planet of the Apes," but they never mentioned what character he was interested in me for. It was just about saying "hi" and lasted all of two minutes and I told him, "Tim, if you want me to do anything, just let me know and I'm there."

And a couple days later he called me and then he told me ... they wanted me for the astronaut role, and then I said, "Well, wait a second -- Charlton Heston (star of the first "Planet," 1968) wears a loincloth the entire time. He's barefoot." ...Thank God he wasn't interested in seeing me in a loincloth.

CNN: But you know, there are a lot of people out there who would like to see you in a loincloth.

Wahlberg: Well, there's still a chance if there's a sequel.

CNN: You're already thinking sequels.

Wahlberg: Well, people have been asking, and you know they mentioned it and I said. "Well, if Tim's in, I'm in." That's a no- brainer.

CNN: Things are going great for you. You're on the cover of Vanity Fair this month which is -- just by coincidence -- when the movie comes out.

Wahlberg: Yeah, not bad, not bad. I mean, you know, I'm just trying to get the personal life worked out. But career-wise, yes, I couldn't be happier.

CNN: What's wrong with the personal life?

Wahlberg: Well, you know -- 30, single.

CNN: Well, that's bad, I feel really sorry for you.

Wahlberg: Well, I've got a mother to answer to, and parish priests constantly questioning me, so ... I think I'm getting ready ... I just have to find the right person.

But career-wise, I couldn't be happier. I've been put in a position where I can really work with some interesting people. I have more to choose from and I don't have to worry about being tempted by you know the b.s. and the money and the bad movies because I don't have an interest in them.

CNN: Good position to be in.

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