After starring in a string of high-octane action films that include the likes of Pain & Gain, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Lone Survivor, audiences would generally expect Mark Wahlberg to clock in for his acting shift with a pretty buff physique. But for The Gambler — an updated retelling of the 1974 original — the Boston-born actor lost a full 60 pounds to play the lead role of Jim Bennett, as these recently-released images attest.
For the film, Wahlberg’s Bennett is a celebrated literary professor who becomes uncontrollably addicted to gambling — a fixation that threatens his profession and health. After blowing his own savings on the tables, Bennett begins borrowing money from friends and family before gambling more and getting in deep with the sharks — quite literally, after he turns to several cunning loan sharks for a quick fix.
Speaking with USA Today, Marky Mark admitted that the dramatic weight loss wasn’t the hardest task he faced when accepting the role.
“Forget losing the weight. Being believable as a teacher was one of my greatest challenges and most rewarding. It meant being able to have the comfort to really understand and say those words.”
Directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), The Gambler will be released straight bang in the middle of awards season, with Paramount scheduling the drama for a December release. So, it’ll be interesting to see whether Wahlberg’s performance attracts the eye of the Academy.
The Gambler will open in select theaters on December 19th, 2014. Joining Wahlberg for the drama piece are Brie Larson, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, and Michael K. Williams.
Source: USA Today