Roundtable Interview With Mark Wahlberg On Broken City

One movie to keep an eye out for in January 2013 is Broken City, a crime drama starring Mark Wahlberg as ex-cop Billy Taggart. Now working as a private detective, Billy gets a chance for redemption when New York Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) gives him a call. It turns out that the Mayor’s wife, Emily (Catherine Zeta-Jones), may be having an affair and he’s concerned it will interfere with his plans for re-election. But in the process of investigating Emily, Billy ends up stumbling across an even bigger scandal that will lead him into a trap he may not be able to escape from.

Wahlberg recently took the time to talk about the movie with us at the film’s press day. He discussed working with director Allen Hughes, how his character here compares to other cops that he’s played and he even gives an update on Transformers 4.

Check it out below.

We Got This Covered: What took so long for you and Allen Hughes to work together on a movie?

Mark Wahlberg: I actually reached out to him after I saw Menace II Society. I remember seeing it in Times Square with a really rowdy crowd with people smoking pot. You don’t have too many more experiences in theaters like that, although I did have that at the premiere of Ted in Amsterdam (laughs).

I just expressed how big of a fan I was, and I was really just starting my acting career then. And then we would run into each other on a couple of different occasions and talk about it (working together). I was aware of the script but I hadn’t read it, and he read it and called me and said “I just keep seeing your face when I read this. Take a look at it.” I read it, we met up and I said “I’d love to do it. Let’s figure out a way to do it but let’s figure out a way to do it kind of on our own so we have control.”

And I have a friend who has been trying to get me to be in his movies for a long time, movies that he was financing or producing, and I always said no for various reasons. And finally I said “I have the movie that we can do together. Go get the money and we’ll make it happen.”

The script was so good that it just attracted all the talent that’s involved in this project both in front of and behind the camera. But Russell read it and responded right away. It’s funny because everyone who read the script loved the character of Billy, and when I read it I wanted to be the Mayor. Obviously I was too young and some of them were too old to play Billy. But he read it and responded right away and same thing with everybody else.

We Got This Covered: How does Billy compare to the other cop characters you’ve played in movies like The Departed?

Mark Wahlberg: Well my character in The Departed had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. This character is faced with a whole different choice and challenges and I just found it really interesting because I could understand what he did in the beginning of the movie and why he did it. It was just a horrible miscarriage of justice and the system really failed. But it’s still that thing of you wanting to do the right thing, and you want for the system to have done the right thing. Now, when he’s faced with this issue of taking down the Mayor and helping a lot of less fortunate people, even though he’s going to have to risk losing his own freedom, he’s willing to do that because he wants to right that wrong at some point anyway. I’d just loved that about him, and it was just one of those things that reminded me of when I saw Chinatown with my dad. It was like here’s a great story, a great character, interesting twists, and we don’t have a tendency to make these movies very often.

We Got This Covered: From watching the trailer, this movie looks to have a noir feel to it. Is that something you and Allen talked about?

Mark Wahlberg: Yeah that was something that Allen was really interested in doing from the very beginning which was something I was certainly on board with.

We Got This Covered: What was it like working with Russell Crowe?

Mark Wahlberg: You know, it was funny because 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 just showed up and he had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time with monologue after monologue. He just showed up and walked into the room, and Allen was like “do you guys wanna rehearse?” Russell looked at me and I looked at him and he said “let’s do this shit.”

We had the ability, because of the way it was written, to just go at each other. We were trying to outdo each other as characters but not as actors and individuals. So it meant for some really great duels but for the service of the movie and not necessarily for each other. He was a consummate pro and just came in and nailed it. It was nice to see someone who’s as prepared as Allen to where it’s like “oh some people still do care. They do take this seriously.”

We Got This Covered: Can you tell us anything about Transformers 4 at this point?

Mark Wahlberg: Just that I had a great experience working with Michael Bay. We really hit it off and complimented each other on the set of Pain and Gain, and we took something that was really good and made it into something really special. He said to me “what do you think about doing this Transformers movie?” I asked him “well what do you want me to do” and he told me and I said “absolutely.”

I think it’ll be the most challenging role that I’ve played and it’s an opportunity for me to do something extremely different. It’s going to be very different from what the first ones were, and I’m excited about it. When I talked to Steven Spielberg and others involved with it I said “don’t worry guys, this is not me taking a paycheck and running with it.” I liked what the guys did with The Avengers for instance. When I watched that movie I was not interested in seeing it at all, but it was entertaining for me as well as for my kids and I thought they did a really good job. We want to do something special with it and I’m excited about it.

We Got This Covered: Are your kids excited about it?

Mark Wahlberg: It’s the first time they’ve ever been excited about me doing a movie and they demand to be in it.

That concludes the interview but we’d like to thank Mark for taking the time to talk with us. Be sure to check out Broken City when it hits theatres on January 18th, 2013.