July 26, 2001
MARK WAHLBERG chats it up with our JULIE MORAN -- just as TIM BURTON's 'Planet of the Apes' gets ready to open this weekend! Check out what this hot human has to say about loincloths, what it's like to be attacked by live chimps and his single status.
JULIE MORAN: Rumor has it that the first time you walked onto the set and saw all the apes, that you had a little mini-heart attack.
MARK WAHLBERG: Yes, it was a panic attack. It wasn't when I walked on set, we were actually about to do the first take of the first shot, and TIM (BURTON) for some reason wanted us all to duck down behind this rock and look down. It was a crane shot, and as we appear, the crane starts to rise, and I looked to my right and there was a big hairy foot hanging out of a sandal. And I looked up and there was this guy in a gorilla outfit, and I was just like, 'You know what, I really made a mistake.' And I looked next to me, and the small boy standing there looks like something out of 'Star Wars' with his sandals and the weird outfit, and I just started to panic. And I'm looking around for Tim, and I saw him behind the monitor, and he's got this huge grin on his face and he's so excited, and enthusiastic, and I realized, well, that's the reassurance I was looking for. This is the guy I came for, I'm going to be okay. Let's get over the initial shock and get on with it.
JULIE: It took you like two minutes to decide to do this movie, right?
MARK: Yeah. Yeah. And then I realized after, well, I promised that I would do anything he asked me to do. And I hadn't I talked about which character he was interested in for me, or I hadn't talked about, if it was the astronaut role, what would he be wearing, because these were two things that I was very concerned with. I don't like being in a makeup chair for too long, so playing an ape would have been tough for me. And, CHARLTON HESTON wore a loincloth.
JULIE: Right, Charlton wore the loincloth, but you did not want to wear the loincloth, right?
MARK: I didn't, but I had already promised that I would do anything, so it was really up to Tim. And so, it was a long six weeks, a lot of sleepless nights before I actually got to go to a fitting.
JULIE: So, you didn't know. You thought...
MARK: No, I never mentioned it, because I had promised to do anything and ... so, (when) I walked into the dressing room, a space suit was hanging there, and I was like, "oh." I looked behind it, there was nothing, I looked inside ... I was like, this could be okay. I went outside, we tried it, she measured me, she said, okay, that's it.
JULIE: How relieved were you?
MARK: I walked inside...well, I still didn't say anything, because you never know (chuckle) so I walked back in the room, took off the suit, and me and Tim went for a walk to discuss something else, and I said, you know Tim, I'm really happy. He's like, why, what's up? I was like, well, I thought you were going to make me wear a loincloth. He was like, what? I don't want to see you in a loincloth. (laugh)
JULIE: Well, he's the only one.
MARK: Well, thank God.
JULIE: Now, there were two chimps, tell me the story, that one day they really didn't like you. Two real chimps.
MARK: Well, anytime I tried to give HELENA (BONHAM CARTER) a hug, they attacked me. And I had spent a lot of time with them, because I had to work very closely with them. And, they really want you to spend time with them so they get familiar with you, because they are very sporadic, and at anytime they can turn on you. They're very playful and loving, but at the same time, they're wild animals. So, we got so close, and I was their best friend, and they wouldn't let me go anywhere without holding onto my leg. Next thing you know, they met Helena, smelled her, and that was it. I came up to give her a hug, both jumped on me at the same time and started to pounce on me.
JULIE: Really? Like pounce on you?
MARK: Yeah, just beating me. Wailing away.
JULIE: Were you scared to death?
MARK: Um, no because they are pretty small, but still, they're strong. I had to get out of there until the trainers straightened that out.
JULIE: Did it ever happen again?
MARK: Um, no. There were times where they actually became very protective of me and were attacking TIM ROTH and his double.
JULIE: Well that's good.
MARK: Definitely. I needed some help, because Tim was beating the hell out of me the whole movie.
JULIE: How do you think the audience is going to respond to your, not romance with Helena, but she's a chimp, you're you, and it's a beautiful thing...
MARK: Yeah, I think it's fascinating. She's got all the qualities that I want in a woman and I'm looking for in a wife.
MARK: Yeah, and she's adorable. RICK BAKER did an amazing job. And she, just brought so much life to the character and so much personality. I mean, I think guys are going be falling in love with her.
JULIE: You might be right.
MARK: KRIS KRISTOFFERSON is in love with her. She's amazing in the part.
JULIE: I know all the women in America, are going to want me to ask this question. Are you single or attached right now?
MARK: I am single.
MARK: Very single. Yes.
JULIE: Okay. Well, I think they'll like that answer.
MARK: Well, I'm glad they do.
JULIE: One last question. Do you want to do a sequel? Would you like to do a sequel?
MARK: If Tim would do a sequel, I'm in. We've talked about it. I mean, I would do anything the guy wanted to do.