Mark Wahlberg talks 2 Guns sequel, stunts & shirtless scenes

Mark Walhberg - 2 GunsMark Wahlberg is a busy guy. He’s currently shooting Transformers 4 but flew in from Detroit to promote his latest film, the action-comedy 2 Guns, in UK cinemas on 16 August.

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, who also directed the actor in last year’s Contraband, the movie stars Wahlberg and Denzel Washington as two undercover cops from competing bureaus who are forced to go on the run together.

Despite being jet-lagged, Wahlberg was in good spirits throughout the press conference where Flicks And The City’s Amon Warmann caught up with him. Here he chats about working with Washington, how much stunt work he does himself and reuniting with his Contraband director, Kormákur. Check out the highlights below…

On the influence of 80s action movies on 2 Guns & what films he watched growing up:

“Absolutely a fan of those movies like Lethal Weapon, and it goes back to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The movie lives and dies on the chemistry between me and Denzel. It doesn’t matter who’s chasing us; with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid you never really saw who was after them, it was just these guys kind of running around doing their thing.

I loved the idea of doing that but you obviously have to have the right person starring opposite you and Denzel was obviously at the top of our wish-list. Thankfully after Flight, he wanted to do something a little lighter. Similarly to me, for a long time he wanted to be in a comedy. Coming from a dramatic background, it’s very difficult to go into comedy. It’s a risky thing career-wise and if you don’t do it right, it could be a big problem, it can set you back quite a way. He had seen me do The Other Guys and the little thing I did in Date Night. Ted actually came out while we were shooting this movie, and he was very interested in those numbers!”

Mark Walhberg & Denzel Washington - 2 GunsOn chemistry with Denzel Washington:

“We’ve known each other for a while, we’re actually neighbours. To get out he drives by my house all the time, never stops to say hello though! [laughs] It’s just one of those things, it either works or it doesn’t. He was game, I was game; we had a great part and a great director in Baltasar, who knows me and how I like to work. I like to improvise a lot, and I like to constantly be throwing curveballs at people, and he was just up for it, so it kind of worked.”

On his music career:

“I was the best! [laughs] No, I would not revisit it. Actually, there may be a time and a place for it. I was asked on the spot when they were doing this concert in Boston for the marathon victims and they said “would you perform at the Funky Bunch?” and I said absolutely, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to try and boost people’s spirits and raise money for those victims and their families.

It became this big thing and they were calling me for rehearsal and I can’t go because I’m shooting a movie! I can’t tell Michael Bay ‘Hey, look, I gotta go do Good Vibrations!’ He’d be like, ‘Do it on the spaceship dude, I don’t give a shit!’ [laughs] Maybe the right time or the right thing, for a good cause or fun, but I don’t miss it that much. There was no discipline with music, and when I found movies I became very disciplined. I realised that there was no room for screwing around.”

Mark Walhberg & Denzel Washington - 2 GunsOn possible sequels & working with Washington again:

“We had a blast working together; we’d love to work together again. As far as doing a sequel, we’ll see how the movie continues to perform and if audiences really want to see it, who knows? I enjoy working with the best and going at the best. When I was working with Jack Nicholson, I said some shit to him that he never heard anybody say! But Denzel was great about it. We have the same attitude towards the work.

“Bill Paxton was a powerhouse and he brought so much to the part, and Edward James Olmos is someone who we’ve always admired. We wanted everyone to be great. The movie only works as a whole because we have a great cast and great chemistry and we want other people to shine.”

On his diet for filming:

“Last year was a crazy year for me because I did 4 movies in a span of 12 months and they were all extremely different. For Broken City, the director wanted me to be as thin as possible and I was already flirting with the idea of doing Pain & Gain so I was trying to put on weight!

I got down to 165lb for that movie and I got up to 212lb for Pain & Gain. I got down to 180lb for 2 Guns and I did that by just playing basketball, changing the supplements I was taking and changing my diet. I don’t like to eat in movies. I don’t like props. Some people have always got to have a thing, they’re doing this, they’re doing that – I hate it. I just want to talk. Or fight. [Laughs]”

On how he chooses which movies he makes & what movies he likes to watch:

“I’m usually looking for the complete opposite of the thing I’m doing at the time, or the film that I just finished. After Transformers I’m going to do a small, serious drama, and then I’m doing Ted 2. We got 2 amazing scripts from William Monahan, who wrote The Departed.

I like to watch everything, but most of the movies I’m seeing now are kids’ movies because I usually take my kids to the movies, so I’ve seen everything animated. My boys were dying to see 2 Guns, dying to see anything with guys beating each other up. The only thing I don’t like that much is sci-fi or musicals.”

On what he’d say to his younger self:

“You can’t give him any advice because he wouldn’t listen! [laughs] Everybody thinks they know it all at that age, and it’s not until you get older that you realise you know very little. Through experience, growth, fatherhood and marriage you start to learn things. It was part of who I was; thank God I survived it and that I had an opportunity to grow.”

Mark Walhberg & Denzel Washington - 2 GunsOn how much stunt work he does himself:

“When I was young, I was an adrenaline junkie so I loved that kind of stuff. In this movie Denzel and I did most of it. I find it annoying when actors talk about how badass they are. These guys spend an hour or so in the make-up chair, then another hour or so looking at themselves in the mirror! [laughs] You’re not that tough dude, and neither am I. You wanna see tough, watch a UFC fight. Or go to prison. [laughs] But I’ll do what’s required of me.”

On Wahlberg keeping his shirt on while actress Paula Patton going topless in the movie:

“[Laughs] That was a Baltasar thing. My character is a guy who’s constantly hitting on these girls but he’s got no game, [laughs] which I liked! If we do a second one then maybe my character Stig will have a girlfriend. I think there was a scene where I had my shirt off but it got cut out. [Laughs]”

Baltasar Kormákur - 2 Guns DirectorOn working with director Baltasar Kormákur:

“I love working with him. It’s rare that a European filmmaker is hired to direct a comedy. They’re always getting hired to do thrillers and stuff like that, but comedy a lot of times doesn’t translate and there is a language barrier there. But he is an actor first, a really funny guy, really talented guy with action, with comedy and also with budget.

We did Contraband for less than what it was supposed to initially cost and with 2 Guns the same thing. It was meant to be one of those $100 million movies but we did it for a lot less than that. We’ve got a couple things in the works; he just directed a pilot for us at HBO called The Missionary.”