Mark Wahlberg is a busy guy. He stars in at least one movie a year. You can see him with his brothers in the reality show Wahlburgers. He executive-produces the HBO show Ballers and the USA show Shooter. He has four kids. He golfs. He co-owns the sports nutrition company Performance Inspired. And right now he’s doing press rounds for Mile 22, in which he plays an elite American intelligence agent with an almost impossible mission.
Mile 22, which opens Friday in the US, and hits theaters on Aug. 23 in Australia and Sept. 19 in the UK, marks his fourth collaboration with director Peter Berg. One thing’s for sure. Wahlberg, 47, can answer a lot of questions in just a 10-minute phone interview. Here’s what we learned about him during our quick chat.
He’s an early bird. He was getting up at 1:30 and 2 a.m. on the set of Mile 22, but don’t assume he doesn’t get enough sleep. “I have to get eight hours of sleep, at least seven and a half,” he said. His wake-up time, he adds, depends on what time he can go to bed.
He can fit a heck of a lot into one day. On the Saturday we talked, he’d woken up at 6:30 a.m. (a screening for his 2019 comedy Instant Family kept him up late the previous night, hence his “sleeping in”). “I worked out, hit golf balls at my house, had my prayer time and reading time and then I came to work at 10 a.m. I had a beautiful church service [during my lunch break] here at the hotel at 1 o’clock, and now I’m about to run home and help my wife and kids,” he said, still full of energy at about 4 in the afternoon. “There is enough time in the day as long as you’re living a clean life.”
He has lots of help and isn’t ashamed to talk about it. He delegates. He also admits he doesn’t have many house duties. “Luckily we have help in that department,” he said.
He really liked Colombia, where Mile 22 filmed, even though the movie’s set on a fictional Southeast Asian country. “We had a lot of access and the freedom to do things there that we might not be able to do in other places. They have very strong crew members. It’s a beautiful, beautiful country. They were very accommodating. I can’t wait to go back,” he said, adding that shooting in downtown Los Angeles in the middle of the workday, and particularly being able to blow stuff up, isn’t always possible. But it was in Bogotá.
Director Peter Berg is like a brother to him. They have made four films together, and by now are very familiar with one another. “We know exactly when and where we need to step in and we really bring the best out of each other,” Wahlberg said.
And like a true sibling, Berg likes torturing Wahlberg. After having worked with him on Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon and Lone Survivor — where Wahlberg’s characters were either a bit out of shape or too bulky — Berg wanted a ripped, thin and very fit version of Wahlberg for this movie. “I spent five months training like a crazy person,” the actor said of getting in shape for Mile 22, even though there aren’t any shirtless scenes in the film that show all that work off.
“You wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference,” Wahlberg said. “He (Berg) writes these two-page monologues, and when I saw the final version of the movie, each one was cut in half. He likes to play a lot of games.”
FaceTime is his go-to tool while on set far from the family. “I love it because I can see my wife and kids,” he said.
But he insists he’s actually old-fashioned when it comes to tech. “I’m not a technology guy,” he said, adding that he reads the newspaper.
He knows how to put his phone away and doesn’t have many guilty pleasures. Once he’s home, he puts the phone down to charge and that’s it. And he makes sure to point out that his charger isn’t next to the bed, but in another room. As for guilty pleasures, “I watch some light reality TV on VH1. People fighting, trying to kill each other.”
Though he’s active on social media, he’s still trying to figure out a few things in the digital era. Like the time he got a thumbs-down on the heart emoji he’d sent to his older daughter. “When I looked back at the scroll it said, ‘Ella Rae disliked the heart.’ Wow. I don’t know how to do that,’ he told us. In his daughter’s defense, she’d just asked him to if she could home later than 6:30, and he told her to arrive no later than 6:45. Which brings us to the last thing we learned about Wahlberg during our brief chat: he’s quite the protective dad.
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