Next up on our short list of people for whom we’re most thankful this year: [movieperson id=”166010″]Mark Wahlberg[/movieperson]. Certain generations will always remember him as Marky Mark from his days of “Good Vibrations” and Calvin Klein underwear ads. But in the last decade, Wahlberg has emerged as one of the industry’s most savvy and bankable players.
In 2010, we were introduced to a new side of Wahlberg — his comedic timing — which he showcased by way of “Date Night,” “The Other Guys” and MTV’s own “The Knife Show.” Behind the screen, Wahlberg teamed up with heavyweights Martin Scorsese and Terrence Winter (“The Sopranos”) to bring “Boardwalk Empire” to HBO. He also produced and stars in “The Fighter.” The man has been busy, and we’re happy about it.
MTV: You’re one of the people we’re most thankful for. Has this year been particularly better than others?
Mark Wahlberg: It has. Every year above ground was a special year. Professionally, things couldn’t be better. Personally, my kids are healthy — aside from my youngest having a double ear infection. My wife is healthy and happy and everything is good, so really I’m so blessed and so fortunate.
We’ve had a chance to talk and play around, but I’m not one of these guys who feels, like, entitled to be in this position. I feel so grateful and so humble. I’ve obviously worked very hard, it’s been an amazing journey, but if it ended today, I would be happy because I was on the ride.
MTV: Is there a highlight from this year?
Wahlberg: I would have to say between the movie stuff and the television stuff — with “Boardwalk Empire” premiering, “The Other Guys” did so well. Getting to go do a comedy at the beginning of this year with Seth McFarlane, his directorial debut. I’m so excited, it’s off-the-charts funny.
MTV: Tell me about “Teddy Bear,” because it sounds absurd and amazing at the same time.
Wahlberg: I don’t know how much he wants me to tell, but it’s about this kid who gets a bear for Christmas, it’s in the ’70s, it’s one of those Teddy Ruxpin-ish bears where you squeeze it and it says, “I love you!” The kid wishes and dreams that the bear would come alive, and a Christmas wish must be granted and it does. And Seth McFarlane is voicing the bear, but the bear is going to look like a little teddy bear, but it’s motion-capture, like “Avatar.” It’s never been done before. It’s insane. What the bear does is just …
MTV: An R-rated comedy? I assume when Seth McFarlane is involved …
Wahlberg: Yeah. The bear becomes famous, and then that’s my ticket to getting things and living a life of privilege.
MTV: How satisfying was it for you to finally make “The Fighter”?
Wahlberg: Just to be able to get the movie made was such an uphill battle. I was so happy we got it made, and then the fact that we were able to make a great movie and, I think, the best possible version of the movie. There were so many times where I thought I would make the movie just to get it done, but it happened for the right reasons.
MTV: Do you have plans to direct?
Wahlberg: I want to direct, but I don’t want to direct myself in a movie, because then it becomes about directing my performance. I don’t have the ability to be that kind of multitasker. Producing was tough enough. But in the future, I’d like to take a crack at it.
MTV: What’s next? You’ve talked about “Cocaine Cowboys.”
Wahlberg: Yeah, probably right now. And then there’s this other thing, “Broken City,” that I want to do at the end of next year with Allen Hughes directing, which is on the Black List. [Editor’s note: The Black List is a compendium of unproduced screenplays that different studios/readers have given high marks to.] It’s one of the best unproduced screenplays, an amazing piece of material that should attract amazing talent. … Hopefully “Fighter” will make it a little easier to get some of these passion projects off the ground.
MTV: What kind of film is “Broken City”?
Wahlberg: Crime, mystery. It’s in the vein of those old classics, “Chinatown,” even “L.A. Confidential.”
Thanksgiving is a time for taking stock, expressing gratitude and, most importantly, overeating. We at MTV News have been gorging all year at movie theaters, so it’s about time we looked back and gave thanks to our favorite actors and filmmakers of 2010. Enjoy exclusive interviews with our winners all week long.
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Fighter.”
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