While Mark Wahlberg was in town promoting his latest film We Own the Night, he took a minute to tell us about his role in the upcoming M. Night Shyamalan film The Happening. He also gave us an update on some of his other films. Here is what he had to say:

Are you still doing The Happening?

Mark Wahlberg: Yeah. I'm still going to be shooting that for another week.

Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Mark Wahlberg: Yeah, I'm thrilled about it. It's a complete departure for me. I play a teacher, and Zooey Deschanel plays my wife. She's a therapist. The movie is really about our relationship and the conflicts we are having, set in this horrific disaster. Working with Night is awesome. I'm glad that I worked with him before I ventured off into directing. He brings a whole other element to the game. It's very impressive to see.

What is so different about M. Night as a director?

Mark Walberg: I haven't found a good way to describe it, but I can give you an example. We shot a five-page scene that was taking place in a classroom. Any other director that I have worked with would have taken three days to shoot it. We shot it by lunch. And it's beautiful. He just knows what he wants. It's all thought out. I've never walked into a trailer and the sides are there, and there are entire storyboards for the day. You know exactly what you'll be shooting. He knows exactly what he wants. It's been a great experience. You never know until your done. But it feels pretty special.

Why is this role so different for you?

Mark Wahlberg: I play a kind of nerdy science teacher from Philadelphia. I am very intimidated by my wife. And I can't connect outside of the classroom. I am the best teacher that you have ever seen. My students love me. I have this great connection with them, and I am extremely passionate about what I do. But I have some difficulties in other departments. Especially with my wife. I'm not the man that she wants me to be. I am extremely positive and optimistic, and she is the exact opposite. It's really about their relationship, which is great. You know, I did have a nightmare that Night and I got in a fight on the set.

Is The Fighter still on track?

Mark Wahlberg: Yeah, I've been training. On October 13th, it will have been a full year. It's a big deal to play this part. I have some more training ahead of me. To do what I want to do with this movie, and what other boxing movies haven't been able to capture, is the believability of being a champion. Like Invincible, we want to go in there and make it real. Take some hits. We certainly want to do Mickey Ward justice. He is certainly one of my favorite fighters. He had more heart than anybody else. That's what its really about. It's about his heart. We've got to go in there and do it.

Why did Matt Damon decide not to do it?

Mark Wahlberg: I don't know. I haven't spoken to him. I know it was something that Brad Pitt wanted to do before Matt was involved. There were a whole lot of reasons why Damon didn't do it, but I think Brad was wanting another opportunity to play this part. I have seen every boxing movie ever made. I am also a huge fight fan. I fought a little bit when I was younger. Nobody in my opinion has done this. Rocky and Raging Bull are both great films, but I don't think any other movie has achieved what we are gong to try and accomplish in this movie. You've got to get in there and take the hits. I've talked to Brad, and he wants to do the same thing. I'm excited about that.

We've read that Sharky's Machine might be something you are interested in doing?

Mark Walberg: The first couple of remakes we made, they were just starting to remake movies. Now, they are doing it every other weekend. Every week a new remake comes out. Sharky's Machine was something that was an interesting idea. But it's all about the script now. It's not about the title, or the filmmaker. It's really about the material. So, no, I don't see that movie happening anytime in the near future.

What about the The Italian Job sequel?

Mark Wahlberg: Again, if we don't get the script in better shape than the original, it's just not worth doing. The same with The Departed sequel for that matter. I think William Monahan is writing the script for that, but again, we need to do something better than the original. And it's worth it. There are plenty of other ways to make a bad movie and get a check for it. I just want to try and do some interesting things. I don't want to go back to the well unless it's interesting to myself.

The Happening opens June 13th, 2008. We Own the Night opens October 12th, 2007.

Cinemark Movie Club
B. Alan Orange