Mark Wahlberg wants to make you laugh, cry and feel good with his new movie, Instant Family
NEW YORK — Chances are, by the time you read this,
Mark Wahlberg will already be halfway through his day.
Or he might be on the second of his twice daily gym sessions.
One of the hardest working men in showbiz, the 47-yearold actor impresses in front of and away from the camera. A fact that was bolstered by the schedule he posted to Instagram in September.
In it, he wrote about starting his day at 2:30 a.m., every day.
Today, sitting in a New York hotel overlooking Central Park, Wahlberg admits he was tardy.
“I’ve got a tweak in my back,” he says. “So I got up at three. I stretched first and then I got going with all the things I got to do.”
In the midst of shooting the Netflix action movie
Wonderland, an adaptation of Robert B. Parker’s detective novel, Wahlberg was eager to talk up his new film, Instant
Family (opening Friday), about a couple who adopts three kids.
Based on the real-life experiences of his Daddy’s
Home director Sean Anders, Wahlberg says the heartwarming comedy is about a meaningful subject matter.
Rose Byrne plays his wife in the movie, with Isabela Moner, Gustavo Quiroz and Julianna Gamiz playing the children the married couple adopt.
Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro also appear as social workers in the film.
Wahlberg, who has his hand in business and philanthropy, chose to produce the film because he wanted to change the perception of kids in foster care.
“If it’s something I’m passionate about or something I really believe in, then I want to spend that extra time and energy devoted to producing,” the Oscar nominee says. “For
Instant Family, I just wanted to be involved in any capacity possible. If they had said they were doing their own thing, that would have been fine. But with the relationship I had with Sean, who directs the movie, it made sense for me to come on and take a more active role.”
In a career that has spanned three decades, Wahlberg has gone from a troubled childhood (he did
time in jail for assault) to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. In between, he’s been a pop star and a Calvin Klein model. And last year, thanks largely to his roles in Transformers: The Last Knight, Daddy’s Home 2
and All the Money in the
World, Forbes named him the planet’s highest-paid actor. But Wahlberg has enjoyed the work most when he’s been part of stories that are about real people and real subjects. Anders’ real-life account depicting the struggle and joy of adoption is something he hopes people think about long after they’ve left the theatre.
“It’s nice to make a movie that is about something important and makes people laugh and cry and is wildly entertaining,” he says.
During a wideranging conversation, Wahlberg reflected on his own Hollywood rise, his morning routine and told us what makes Tom Brady so great.
What made you want to be a part of Instant Family? It’s the kind of role we’re not used to seeing you do.
First off, I love working with Sean. I think he’s really talented and anything he talks about wanting to do I’m probably going to be in anyway (smiles). But then when he told me what the subject matter was, and how he wanted to tell his story, it was a no-brainer.
Were you looking to do something that people might connect to on a more emotional level?
I always want to do it all.
I’m usually looking to do something that’s the complete opposite of the last thing that I did. So going from an action movie (Mile 22) to this was a nice change of pace.
But it’s always nice when you can make a movie that everybody can see. It’s nice for my kids to have a movie that they can sit down and watch with me — they’re curious what I’m doing when I’m gone so long. They want to know what dad’s up to.
You’re a father of four. Did you come into Instant Family thinking you were an expert parent?
No (laughs). I’m learning every day. There’s a lot going on in the world and if you’re lucky you grow and mature and learn something new every day.
You’ve got a daughter that’s a teenager, and in the movie your character Pete is feuding with his adopted teenage daughter. Did you relate to that in real life?
I think I’m best when I’m making movies where there are things happening I can personally identify and relate to. Then I can bring stuff to the table from my own life experience. So, having a teenage girl and having a lot of what I was dealing with, with my wife and daughter and their fights being incorporated into the movie, that’s always a plus.
As a parent, are you the good cop or the bad cop?
I’m both. It depends. If I’ve been away all week and things have happened and my wife’s been dealing with it, I’ve got to step in and be the bad cop. I don’t get to come home and be the fun dad. When someone needs to be punished, I have to step in.
You’ve had a loyal fan base that has been willing to follow you across different genres. Looking back when you were starting out in the ‘90s, how did you lay the building blocks for a career that would last as long as it has?
There’s definitely some planning and strategy there. There was certainly a well thought-out approach when I decided to go into comedy. Even though I’m pretty intuitive and I like to go with my gut, when I finally make a decision to go forward with something, I’m always weighing the pros and cons.
When you first started acting was there someone you looked to who you said, ‘I would like a career like that guy’?
Yeah, there’s so many. Jimmy Cagney, without the dancing. Steve Mcqueen. Part of Harrison Ford’s career. John Garfield. Robert Ryan. Denzel Washington. There’s quite a few.
What was the best advice you ever got?
Show up on time. Be prepared. Get the part. Become the part. Play the part.
If you happen to be channel surfing and catch one of your old movies on TV, is there one that you always stop to watch?
Lone Survivor. Probably Invincible. It depends. Boogie Nights is always a good one. The Fighter. There’s a couple of bad ones that if I see them I ask myself, ‘What was I thinking here?’
(pauses) The Truth About
Charlie. It was just one of those ones where I had the time of my life making that movie, but I wasn’t comfortable in that part. The whole scarf and the beret didn’t really suit me.
Let’s talk about the workout regime. You get up at 2:30 a.m. every day. Do you never hit the snooze button?
I don’t have an alarm clock. I’ve got a guy that knocks on my door and says, ‘Let’s go.’
So you’re up this early even if you go out the night before?
I don’t make a habit of going out at night. I went to the Drake concert, but I was home and in bed by 10 and up by 4 a.m. I didn’t get to stay for the whole show.
I know you’re a sports fan, it’s time for you to make some predictions. Let’s start with the NBA Finals.
I’m hoping the Celtics are going to be there winning the East. I think it’s between Raptors and the Celtics. If it’s not the Celtics, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Warriors win again. I really don’t see anyone else beating them.
What about the Super Bowl?
It’s going to be the Patriots.
I knew you were going to say that. What makes quarterback Tom Brady so great?
He’s just the greatest quarterback to ever live. But I think really it’s his work ethic. He’s dedicated and committed to being the best. He gets up at 2:30 in the morning, too, and does what he needs to do while everyone else is sleeping. When everyone else is out going to the Drake concert, Tom’s home getting ready and taking care of himself.
Clockwise from left: Mark Wahlberg went from a Calvin Klein model to the world’s highest-paid actor in a career that has spanned three decades. The 47-year-old star recently shared his gruelling daily schedule on social media — which starts with a 2:30 a.m. wake-up call, mega workouts and cryotherapy, but he always manages to leave room for family time and golfing.
From left: Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner, Julianna Gamiz, and Gustavo Quiroz in a scene from Instant Family. In the movie, Byrne and Wahlberg play a couple who adopts three children.