Mark Wahlberg's 'The Happening' role -- as a sensitive and scared hubby -- may seem uncharacteristic for the former rapper, better known for regularly dropping trou (on screen, on billboards ...). But when we caught up with him, the ex-con with the hardscrabble childhood admitted to crying in movies, devotion to family and ... engaging in a farting contest with Donald Sutherland. Maybe Marky Mark's still in there somewhere. -- By Aimee Deeken
1. What intrigued you about 'The Happening'?
I always take seriously whether or not I'm going to make a film -- weigh all the ups and the downs -- and there was really no downside to making this movie. I've been a big fan of [director M.] Night [Shyamalan]. I think he wrote an incredible screenplay, and I got to play a part that I don't get to play that often.
2. Is M. Night Shyamalan as mysterious as his movies?
Um ... he can be. But he's a sweet, sweet man. He just has this other sick twisted side that gets off on freaking people out.
3. The film's pretty gruesome. Do you think audiences should be warned?
Nah, they can handle it. But yeah, I didn't think I'd be affected by it because obviously I knew everything that was going to happen, and I was still ... He rocked me!
4. What is it about all these recent apocalyptic movies that fascinates audiences so much?
It's all the stuff that's going on in the world and the environment. There is evidence pointing to the possibility of these things [in the movie] happening. We must have respect for all the laws of nature. It's just like anything else: You don't take care of your teeth, your teeth are going to take care of you. People need to start taking responsibility. We've been given this beautiful gift by God and we need to cherish it and protect it.
20th Century Fox
5. You and Zooey Deschanel play a married couple who are looking after a little girl. Did you think about your fiancée, Rhea Durham, and your own two children while you were filming this?
I think about them every second of the day. And I always draw on all my real-life experiences and my real-life situation. That's all I got!
Bob Riha Jr/WireImage.com
6. You've mostly played tough guys in the past. Do you think this movie shows your softer side?
Definitely. It's nice to let down the guard and that tough exterior. That was part of the appeal of the role.
7. Have you ever cried at a movie?
Oh my god, are you kidding? I cry so easily it's ridiculous. S***, I cried at 'The Happening' -- when John [Leguizamo] had to say goodbye to his daughter! Because I can't help but think, Wow, what if that really happened to somebody.
20th Century Fox
8. At what point in your career do you think people stopped thinking of you as a former rapper and started considering you as a serious actor?
I think it may have been different for different folks. 'The Basketball Diaries' kind of opened the door for me, and then 'Boogie Nights' certainly gave me a lot more credibility as an actor. But it's been a slow progression.
9. Does it bother you when people call you Marky Mark?
Well, some people recognize me from certain movies, some recognize me from [Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch]. You know, it is what it is. But it seems like a lifetime ago.
Barry King, WireImage.com