Here is what the talented and popular actor had to say:
Have you wanted to work with director Allen Hughes for a long time?
Mark Wahlberg: I actually reached out to him after I saw Menace II Society in Times Square. I just expressed what a big fan I was and I was really just starting my acting career then. We would both run into each other at special occasions over the years. I was aware of the script (Broken City) but hadn’t read it. Then he read it and called and said, “I keep seeing your face when I read this. Can you take a look at it?” So I read it, we met up and I said, I’d love to do it. I wanted to figure out a way to do it but I wanted us to do it on our own so we could have control. I have a friend who has been trying to get me to be in one of his movies for a long time, something that he was producing or financing. I always said no for various reasons but I called him and said, I think I have the movie we can do together. Go get the money and we’ll make it happen. He got the money and the script is really so good that it attracted all the talent that is involved in the project, both in front of and behind the camera. Russell (Crowe) read it and responded right away. It’s funny because everybody that read the script that was interested in playing the Mayor role loved the character of Billy, and when I read it I wanted to be the Mayor. But obviously I was too young and some of them were too old to play Billy. But (Crowe) read it and responded right away, and so did Catherine (Zeta-Jones), and Jeffrey (Wright), and Barry Pepper, and Kyle Chandler and everyone else.
How does your character in Broken City compare to other cops you’ve played in movies like The Departed?
Wahlberg: My character in The Departed had no redeeming qualities what so ever. This character is faced with a whole different set of choices and challenges. I just found it really interesting because I could understand why he did it, what happens to him in his backstory at the beginning of the movie. It was just a terrible miscarriage of justice and the system failed in his specific case. But it is still that thing of … you want to do the right thing and you want to have the system do the right thing. Then there is this issue of possibly taking down the Mayor and helping a lot of innocent people. He is going to have to risk loosing his own freedom in order to right that wrong. I just loved that about him and it reminded me of when I saw Chinatown with my dad. It was like here is a great character, in a good story with interesting twists. Hollywood doesn’t have a tendency to make these movies all that often, except they all tend to do well, if look at this year, last year and the year before. All the Oscar contenders that make money have been adult themed movies.
Since you mentioned Chinatown, this film does seem to have a noir element to it, is that something you talked about with Hughes before shooting the movie?
Wahlberg: Yeah, that was something Allen was interested in doing from the beginning and I was certainly on board with that. Aside from the first scene where you don’t understand exactly what happened or why it happened, and then you realize that I’m basically trying to right a wrong, a huge injustice. I’m defending myself from attackers, whether it’s in Staten Island as a private investigator, or investigating this guy who’s having an affair. I’m taking pictures of him in the window and his neighbor attacks me with a bat, so there’s a melee there. Then, I’m about to be attacked by a raging lunatic who also happens to be a giant guy. All I want to do is make the fight fair so he comes looking for me in a house. My investigation and my attempt to go after the mayor has gotten really dark and dangerous, and there has been a couple other random acts of violence so I do find it necessary to carry a gun. Thank God because I get into this situation with this giant, and so I just want to make it fair because I know we’re going to get into it, so I just shoot him in the leg from behind. After I intentionally shoot him, I say, ‘That was an accident.’ So I’m thinking maybe there’s still a way for us to negotiate the situation. Then, of course, he grabs me with one hand, the next thing you know I’m on the ceiling and the wall and the desk and everything else. The actor was a very kind gentleman, but he didn’t understand that we were making a movie and he didn’t know his own strength, he didn’t know what "faking it" is at all. I don’t mind making it real when I’m winning, but not when I’m getting my ass kicked by a giant. I just thought it would be a funny moment.
As an actor, what was it like working with Russell Crowe?
Wahlberg: We were shooting for five weeks before Russell came in and everybody was like, ‘What’s he going to be like?’ We had such a great energy and atmosphere on the set, and he showed up and had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. He had monologue after monologue and he just showed up, walked in the room and Allen said, “Do you want to rehearse?” He looked at me, I looked at him, and I said, “Let’s do this shit.” The great thing about it was, we had the ability because of the way it was written, to just go at each other. We were trying to out-do each other as characters, but not as actors and individuals. So it made for some really great duels, but in service of the movie and not necessarily for each other or the individual. He’s a consummate pro. He came in and just nailed it. It was nice to see somebody who’s as prepared as yourself. It’s like, oh, some people still do care, and they do take this seriously. For me, working with the best out there really gives you an opportunity to show what you can do, and they always elevate your game anyway. You’ve seen great actors in bad movies with bad material, it’s got to all work and click, and it’s all got to be on the page. Then you hope you get sprinkled with a little bit of that magical fairy dust on top from the movie Gods because it’s hard to make a good movie. Every project I go in, it’s never for lack of effort; sometimes they turn out good, sometimes they don’t.
Broken City opens in theaters on January 18th.
To watch the new trailer for Broken City introduced by Mark Wahlberg, click on the video player below.