Mark Wahlberg Talks "The Fighter": Lessons on Perseverance & Dedication
The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg, is being called one of the best films of the year. But this story of two professional boxing brothers took five years to make. Wahlberg talked to Charlie Rose about how he never gave up on this film, and how hard he trained to get in shape for the role:
On never giving up:
It was a script that we liked, and for whatever reason it kept falling apart. People would be attached to it then they’d walk away. And I couldn’t give up... And I wasn’t willing to let go. I think there were times when I was getting so discouraged and I felt -- man, maybe in the future I’ll be able to produce it, but the clock is ticking and I’m not getting any younger.
On training three hours a day without even knowing if the film was going to get made:
Yes, it ended up being all together about four and a half years, but that was not what I had initially signed up for. But it did allow me to continue to get better and better and even when I went on to do other films, I would bring the boxing trainer, Bo Cleary, and my athletic trainer with me on other films and we would train three or four hours a day before shooting in another movie.
He was dedicated to looking like a "real fighter" and not just an actor playing a boxer:
And it did ultimately help to look like a Boxer as opposed to an actor who, if shot the right way and edited the right way, could look pretty good. It’s not about looking, it’s not about the appearance. There’s a lot of boxers who don’t look physically imposing. It’s about looking like Micky Ward in the ring and looking like a real fighter. That means on the speed bag, the jump rope, the double end bag, the heavy bag, the way you’re moving.... And I’m a south paw, Micky’s a righty, so it took a long time getting comfortable standing in that stance. Any time I got in a conventional stance I would immediately start to square up and end up back into a southpaw stance.
I highly suggest watching the full interview with Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and director, David O. Russell, over at CharlieRose.com.