Mark Wahlberg's got a very mixed history of critical and box office film successes ("Ted," "The Departed," e.g.) and outright bombs (most recently, "Broken City"), but the most interesting aspect of his filmography might be the movies that he turned down. Few hollywood stars, if any, have such a rich history of rejecting the opportunity to star in massive and iconic films.
Just this week Wahlberg fessed up to turning down the stellar J.J. Abrams when offered a role in "Star Trek" because, frankly, he just couldn't wrap his head around all that space talk in the script. He's of course regretting that decision now and pretty much promised not to turn Abrams down again should he, say, offer him a part in that "Star Wars: Episode VII" project he's working on ("pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top," he seemed to intone). Supposedly he also brushed off the mighty Steven Spielberg on more than one occasion, but luckily for him The Beard let it slide and cast him in "The Lovely Bones" and "Transformers 4" anyway.
In some cases, though, Wahlberg's strange decisions may have dramatically impacted the course of his career.
Take, for instance, "Brokeback Mountain." According to the always reliable interwebs, Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix were once up for Ang Lee's epic cowboy love story leads, but Wahlberg wasn't too keen on the shackin' up scenes. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, of course, were more than okay with the on-screen romance and went on to earn an Oscar nomination apiece for their work in the flick. Big oops letting that fish get away.
In another installment of Wahlberg letting Gyllenhaal get all the cred, he walked away from the leading role in "Donnie Darko" because, reportedly, he insisted that Donnie needed a lisp, and director Richard Kelly did not agree. The film is now considered a cult classic and ranks among IMDb's top 250 fan-favorites. To be fair, though, Wahlberg enjoyed back-to-back blockbusters during the same year of release, with "The Perfect Storm" and "Planet of the Apes" rakin' in the domestic dough.
Other flicks Wahlberg was said to be offered but didn't accept include "Face/Off" and "Ocean's Eleven," the combined worldwide box office of which exceeds half a billion. Not to mention, "Ocean's" was followed by two successful sequels and had a cast that reads like a veritable Who's Who Among Hollywood. Considering he's just now approaching franchise-land, that was a pretty bad miss.
At the end of the day, though, Mark Wahlberg's doing A-okay right about now. While he's got a few stinkers of recent note, he's also an executive producer on HBO's most acclaimed television series - "Boardwalk Empire."
Still, there's a formula to what you'll likely see from Mark Wahlberg as an actor ("Ted 2" aside) if he keeps making decision like these, and it's shoot 'em up bang-bang flicks a la "2 Guns," "Lone Survivor" and "Good Time Gang" or muscle-y manliness movies like "Pain & Gain." Some actors try to desperately avoid being typecast, but it looks like some just don't mind it ... especially if the roles are always macho badasses. Some stars take the career they can get, while others carve out the one they want for themselves. Que sera, sera.