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vevie
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 11:17 am    Post subject: Mark Article- May 25 - Reply with quote


Article Last Updated: Sunday, May 25, 2003 - 2:11:09 AM EST

Pulling it off: Mark Wahlberg has gone from the streets of Dorchester to stardom
By AUSTIN O'CONNOR, Sun Staff
BOSTON To prepare for his role as the leader of a heist team in The Italian Job, Mark Wahlberg led his co-stars in a carefully planned late-night raid on the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood. Along with his on-screen criminal crew that includes actors like Seth Green, Mos Def and Jason Statham, the Boston-born Wahlberg set a ladder against the towering wall that surrounds the lot, clambered over it, and proceeded to wreak havoc under cover of darkness.
"We stole golf carts, went around and pretty much stole whatever we could get," the chiseled 31-year-old actor recalls with a laugh during a recent visit back to his hometown to talk about his latest movie, a new version of the British cult classic.

Included in their haul were several reels of film, computers and the most prized of the loot SWAT team uniforms from the set of Boomtown, the NBC cop drama on which Wahlberg's brother Donnie plays one of the lead roles. The raid took place only a few months after the 9/11 attacks, so the plan to run roughshod over a presumably heavily-guarded major studio lot even if it was the studio that was making The Italian Job, and even if it was a lark was risky, and probably more than a bit foolish. But watching Wahlberg tell the story, you can tell that it was also pretty darn fun.

"Of course we returned everything the next morning, told the studio what we did, and they went crazy," he says with a smile. "Here they are searching cars for bombs and stuff and we went right on the lot. They weren't too happy, but it was a way for us to really find our chemistry."

Though the Paramount heist was all in good fun, there was a time in Wahlberg's life when a career in crime looked like it might be his most promising option. As the youngest of nine kids, Wahlberg had a notoriously troubled youth, eventually landing in jail at the age of 16 after being convicted on a myriad of charges that stemmed from a street melee.

He spent time at the Deer Island House of Correction, and by the time of his release Donnie was just starting to make hearts swoon as a member of the New Kids on The Block. The bubblegum group was actually an offshoot of a rap duo that originally featured Donnie and Mark, so Donnie was more than happy to help his younger brother get back on his feet. And Wahlberg, who had time to do some soul-searching as he sat behind bars, was more than happy to be helped when he got out.

"I knew that it wasn't what I wanted for my life," he says of his criminal activity. "I was doing it, and I was succeeding at it. But succeeding at it is, you know, getting locked up. So I decided that I was going to find something positive, that I was going to create a life for myself."

With Donnie's help, he landed a record deal and burst on the scene as Marky Mark, his white-rapper persona predating Eminem by nearly a decade. Then came those famous Calvin Klein underwear ads, in which he struck his notorious pantsless pose, and a pop-culture star was born. But the transition to serious acting required a little more effort than just dropping his pants. In fact, Wahlberg says he never really envisioned himself as an actor, especially when the roles he was offered in the wake of his rapping and modeling success weren't all that tempting.

"The only parts I was being offered were things like the white rapper in Sister Act 2, just the worst things you could possibly imagine," he says. "I met a lot of people, and the more people I met the more I didn't want to be in the movies, or have anything to do with them."

That attitude changed when he met director Penny Marshall, who was convinced he could play the part of a young Army recruit in Renaissance Man.

"We just clicked," he says. "She has a similar background and upbringing. She just spoke the same language as me, and we clicked."

The movie was quickly forgotten, but Wahlberg's surprisingly solid performance wasn't.

"Everybody thought I was going to be so bad," he says with a smile, "that if I did one thing that was even slightly interesting, they thought it was good. Looking back, I am proud of the work."

His ascent to A-list star was stunning in its speed. Roles in respected smaller movies like Fear and The Basketball Diaries led to his most famous turn, as ridiculously-endowed porn star Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights.

Surprisingly, the Boogie Nights role wasn't as easy to accept as it would seem.

"I was 25 years old, I had already made millions of dollars and been successful in a number of areas," he recalls. "And I was still debating whether or not to do Boogie Nights because I was worried about what people in my old neighborhood would think. It was the stupidest thing in the world."

It was that struggle, in part, that led to the formation of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, which raises money for young kids in Dorchester and other areas and focuses on fostering their creativity.

"Here are all these kids (in those areas) who are creative and can express themselves artistically, and they're not allowed to because of where they're from," he says. "There's one way to be, and that's it. And if you go against that, you have a really, really tough time. It's really unfortunate."

The actor, who recently bought a new house in Los Angeles, says he devotes as much time as he can to the Foundation. But for now, his focus is on The Italian Job, which follows The Planet of the Apes and The Truth About Charlie (Jonathan Demme's update of Charade) as the latest in a string of remakes for the actor. This time around, he plays Charlie Coker, the crew leader played by Michael Caine in the 1969 original.

"I've made those decisions based on the filmmakers," he says about the spate of remakes. "That's basically been my approach that the most important thing in making a film is the filmmaker. I still have a lot to learn, and so I try to work with as many talented people, and different types of talent. So when Tim Burton asked me to do Planet of the Apes, Tim Burton could ask me to run around the street naked and I'd say 'not a problem.'"

"I watched Charade and Planet of the Apes, and wasn't a huge fan of either one," he continues. "I have a lot of respect for both, and I understand why they were held in such high regard. But The Italian Job is something that I wasn't even aware of until after I read the script. And this movie is better than the original, and I couldn't really say that about the other two."

Next up, he'll reunite with David O. Russell, under whose direction he gave his finest performance in Three Kings, for the comedy I Love Huckabee's. And he's prepping to take on his biggest role yet: In August, he and girlfriend Rhea Durham are expecting their first child, a baby girl.

Once chastised as brash, arrogant and entitled, Wahlberg now speaks with the ease of a man who fully appreciates his success. And one who's happy that his criminal misdeeds are now confined to the movie screen and the occasional studio lot, of course.

"Every once in a while, I kind of look back. I've been working so much for so long now," he says. "But every once in a while I kind of step back and, yes, I guess I am kind of amazed that I pulled it off."

The Italian Job opens on Friday at area theaters.


from: www.lowellsun.com
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Lianne
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you haven't seen it yet

Boston Globe and the San Francisco Chronicle previously posted in Huckabee section.

[This message has been edited by Lianne (edited May 27, 2003).]
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Lianne
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more Daily Southtown - cross posted in Huckabee section.
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vevie
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2003 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Lianne

I will read it....
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Kazuko



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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2003 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you vevie and Lianne. I will read them all.
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