Mark Wahlberg Channels His Past For ‘Pain & Gain’: ‘I’ve Robbed People’

'They don't have that criminal mentality like me,' actor says during Sneak Peek Week Q&A, leading up to Sunday's MTV Movie Awards.

Although he’s long since outgrown the savvy, super-buff Marky Mark persona that introduced him to the world, Mark Wahlberg retains a deep-rooted connection to that time in his life. In fact, the actor tells MTV that he tapped into his own experiences as a tough guy on the streets of Boston to bring extra dimensions to his character in the new film “Pain & Gain.”

“I kept saying to {director] Michael [Bay], ‘Dude, you’ve got to let me do an accent there!’ ” he told MTV News’ Josh Horowitz during an exclusive Q&A following a Sneak Peek Week screening of the film in Universal City, California, leading up to Sunday’s MTV Movie Awards. “He was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ ”

In “Pain & Gain,” Wahlberg plays the ringleader of a group of bodybuilders who decide to kidnap one of their clients in order to scare up some money. The plot quickly descends into violence when their ambition outpaces their intelligence, but Wahlberg suggested that his character adopt an accent during the kidnapping so the victim wouldn’t recognize his voice.

“I’ve been training him for quite some time, so I had to disguise my voice,” Wahlberg reasoned, adding that Bay and co-stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Anthony Mackie initially had reservations about the choice, but they weren’t as attuned to the thought processes of a criminal as he was.

“They don’t have that criminal mentality like me,” he said. “I know how to do sh–. I’ve robbed people in the past, so you can’t be just like, ‘Hey, dude, what’s up? It’s me, Mark. Listen — give me your sh–!’ ”

Wahlberg eventually adopted an accent he characterized as Panamanian, which he told Bay was an impersonation of someone he actually knew. “I said, ‘Michael, you gotta understand — this is like a guy I know from Panama who’s talking like this all of the time.’ And he’s going to say, ‘Dude, you gotta gimme your sh–, or no more chocha for you!’ ”

“Pain & Gain” arrives in theaters April 26. Horowitz’s conversation with Wahlberg, Bay, Ken Jeong, Rob Corddry and newcomer Bar Paly is the second exclusive chat in MTV’s Sneak Peek Week, a weeklong celebration of movies and movie stars leading up to the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday. The broadcast begins at 9 p.m. sharp, so make sure you tune in to see your favorite Hollywood stars being honored for their work in 2012!