Mark Wahlberg Interview For ‘Contraband’
Mark Wahlberg leads the cast of ‘Contraband’, a fast-paced thriller about a man trying to stay out of a world he worked so hard to leave behind and the family he’ll do anything to protect. Set in New Orleans, the film explores the cutthroat underground world of international smuggling — full of desperate criminals and corrupt officials, high-stakes and big payoffs — where loyalty rarely exists and death is one wrong turn away. Alongside Mark Wahlberg, the film stars Kate Beckinsale, Giovanni Ribisi, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Haas, and Ben Foster. ‘Contraband’ is released in cinemas January 13th in US, and March 16th in the UK.
What was it like having Baltasar Kormákur on board as director? Seeing as he played your role and produced the original Icelandic film?
Mark Wahlberg: At first I was concerned that he might refer to the way he played things, but he really wanted me to do my own thing. He was great, he‘s really smart. There was no bells and whistles. I don’t think he’s ever made a movie with the tenth of the budget that we have of on ‘Contraband.’ But he still has the same approach, he’s not off in a trailer, he’s on the set the whole time jumping around and running, showing me how to climb things. I really like his style, he’s covering all of the bases, he’s really smart about all the performances. With him you can try different things, which makes the performances a lot more layered. He obviously starred-in and produced the original, so he knows the story inside and out.
Can you tell us a little about the set up of the movie, what kick starts ‘Contraband’?
Mark Wahlberg: At the very beginning of the film I’m at home, happy, starting up my new business setting up alarm systems. I’m spending time with my wife and two boys. My good friend, Danny – who’s played by Lucas Haas – is getting married. Then unfortunately my wife’s younger brother, Andy – who’s played by Caleb Landry Jones – makes a horrible mistake of getting talked into the smuggling world by these very unsavoury characters. His boat gets boarded by customs and he has to dump what he’s smuggling, so now these guys are coming after him for the money. If he can’t pay they’re gonna kill him and come after his family. So basically, I try to approach them and say, “Cut him a break, we’ll figure out a way to pay back.” But they’re not having it, so I’m forced to go out on one last run. Sebastian – who’s played by Ben Foster – helps me to get the buy money, he helps me to get on a boat and we’re off to Panama.
There’s a great dynamic between your character and both Kate and Ben Foster’s characters. How was it for you having them in this movie, as actor and producer?
Mark Wahlberg: Kate responded to it right away, she wanted to do something a bit different. It reminded me a lot of Amy Adams in ‘The Fighter,’ with the aspect of having someone you’re used to seeing in a certain way, even though Kate has done a lot of action stuff, she hasn’t done the whole gritty urban thing. And then Ben Foster, he’s one of my favourite actors period. You know, I actually went up to him at an event, and just said, “Hey, I wanted to say hi, I’m a big fan of your work,” and he looked at me like I was crazy (laughs), he didn’t believe me at first, he thought I was joking around. So I said, “No, I really like your work, I’ve seen you in many different things, I hope we get to work together.” Then ’Contraband’ came up, Ben’s name came up straight away, I thought, “We’ve got to get him!” Then it was him who insisted that we spend as much time as possible together, so that relationship, that comradery and that chemistry is just seamless.
How was it filming on location in New Orleans?
Mark Wahlberg: We talked about setting the movie in a number of different places. We felt like New Orleans made the most sense – and obviously there’s a lot of tax benefits shooting there. It’s a world that….the port is huge, the kind of world in ‘Contraband’ does exist in that area. New Orleans is a great backdrop, the culture is fantastic. We just thought it would be the most interesting place to shoot. Shooting in a lot of the ports and locations, these vast ports, I think it gives a look and a feel that you haven’t seen before.
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