His latest offering, "2 Guns," pairs him up with one of the greatest actors of all-time, Denzel Washington. Wahlberg is Michael 'Stig' Stigman, an undercover Navy intelligence officer, and Washington is an undercover DEA agent, and of course, they get into all sorts of buddy-comedy trouble as they try to outdo and out-deceive the other.
There are lots of laughs and "2 Guns" has plenty of action, and Wahlberg is quickly mastering yet another medium -- comedy. Moviefone spoke to him about the incredible variance of his recent roles, his physique, and how he keeps his head on straight with virtually no break between projects.
Moviefone: You seem to be having some fun with your role choices nowadays. You have this one in "2 Guns," you just finished up "Pain & Gain," and you starred in "Ted" (also, soon to be in "Ted 2"). Would you agree?
Mark Wahlberg: Yeah, but I'd say that I'm trying to have fun with everything I do. After "Transformers 4," I'm going back to another serious role, and then, like you said, next is "Ted 2." I always like to do the exact opposite of the role I just did - like I just did "The Lone Survivor," which is the true story of Marcus Lutrell, the worst tragedy in the history of the Navy SEALs. That was a difficult movie to make, but I try to have as much fun as possible. I was certainly giddy at the idea of working with Denzel [Washington] for "2 Guns," and being able to go at him in the way I did, and also the fact that people would see him in a different way and having a bit more fun.
And did you guys have an easy chemistry?
Yeah! We were serious about the work, but we had a lot of laughs. The conditions weren't all that pleasant, since it's pretty damn hot in New Mexico in the summer, but we certainly made the most of it. We'd actually been friendly for quite some time; I know his wife and kids, so there was a comfort level. Doing this kind of movie, you could risk looking a bit ridiculous at some points, but you could spend some time trying to look cool. I think we're both at a place and an age where we're trying to do new and interesting things.
You guys have a pretty memorable car chase and fight scene in the desert sand. Was that fun to shoot?
Absolutely. That was one of those things where Denzel came up with the idea. I think it was weird for Baltasar [Kormákur, the director], who kept asking "Who wins the fight?" and "How does the fight end?" And Denzel suggested that we fight like kids, where neither one wants to let go, and the only way it's going to stop is if they let up at the same time. And hey, I didn't mind, I would have let him kick the shit out of me! [Laughs] He's still Denzel, I can let him beat me up.
Did you emerge from this banged up at all, with cuts or bruises?
You always get a little banged up here and there, but nothing major. I went from "Broken City" to getting as big as possible for "Pain & Gain," and then I had 30 days to lose that weight for "2 Guns." "2 Guns" started literally three-and-a-half to four weeks after we finished "Pain & Gain." And then, three weeks after that, I started shooting "The Lone Survivor."
Dude, what are you doing to yourself?
It was a rough year. Everything was ... gapped out after that year. I was so glad to have six months off before "Transformers 4." I spent two months doing nothing, and then the other four months trying to get back into some sort of shape and get healthy again.
You're always in shape ... aren't you?
Yeah, but it was one of those times when I felt like I was 80.
"Pain & Gain" was also a buddy comedy, but had some other darker elements. Was working with The Rock at all similar to working with Denzel Washington?
It was different and similar at the same time. All three of us are about the work and we don't need to hang out together or spend too much time together ... we're professionals and we do our thing. An important part is we respect each other's processes, and they're both just really easy to work with. Dwayne is such a great guy, and Denzel is obviously one of the greatest actors of all time.
And how good are you with guns at this point?
Very familiar, yeah. They would try to get me to go to the gun range for "Transformers 4," and I said, "Dude, I've done 35 movies now, and in about 33 of them I was carrying a gun. I've got it figured out." And I just came off of "The Lone Survivor," in which I did some really serious and intense Navy SEAL training - all the weapons training.
You also have a lot of production work on your plate as well -- I don't know how you find time to do all of it. Is this acting/producing combo something that you want to continue doing?
I like doing both. Producing allows me more time at home with my wife and my kids, and obviously acting is the most time-consuming of all the things I do. I try to keep a nice balance.
What about directing? Is that something you'd like to do eventually?
Yes. It would depend on the project and having the ability to carve out that amount of time.
Any word on the "Entourage" movie?
We're getting close to closing the guys' deals! We're hoping to shoot in October, so we'd better hurry up! The main guys are coming back, but we also have some other great parts written in there for some ... people. [Laughs] That's about as far as I'm gonna go.
"2 Guns" opens in theatres on August 2.