A/V Room









The Italian Job - Mark Wahlberg Q&A

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. When was it that you saw a tape or DVD of the original?
Probably about 30 minutes after I had put down the script. I had to see it immediately.
I have been crowned the 'king of the remake', because of Planet of the Apes and The Truth About Charlie, so the last thing I wanted to do was go down that street again.
The script was great, Gary wanted to pay homage to the original, but also wanted to do something very different, and I just thought that with the opportunity of playing that type of role, and the rest of the talent that this cast would attract, would make for a really good movie.

Q. Congratulations on your recent parenthood! How will that dictate how you choose your roles? Will it have a bearing?
There definitely will be no more Boogie Nights or anything like that! People always say, you can tell your kids that it's a movie, but when they go through High School or Middle School, other kids can be really mean and I would immediately think about, you know, what Pamela Anderson's kids are going to have to go through. It's something that I definitely take into consideration and hopefully I'll be able to sneak a kids' movie in here or there.

Q. This is a slightly different kind of leading man role, was that what attracted you more towards it? Did you appreciate the challenge?
I've played likeable characters before, because they were either written that way, or perceived that way, but I was never asked to smile or wink a little bit here and there, and to really play that up, which was a little scary for me. I see a lot of people do that and a lot of people survive on that, and to me, you've got to walk that fine line between not chewing up the scenery.
It was a challenge and something that was constantly in the back of my mind, because I don't think if the audience didn't like our group, then the movie wouldn't have worked.

Q. You must have learned a lot about that sort of technique from George Clooney, though?
How to chew up the scenery? George, you know, when you're that good looking, you can get by.

Q. Were you disappointed that Sir Michael Caine wasn't able to star in it?
I wasn't disappointed, because Donald Sutherland was somebody else I had grown up idolising. He is an amazing actor himself. It's just that it would have been nice had Michael been able to do so, but he was busy doing something else.

Q. Did Donald regail loads of movie stories about his past, particularly as the film gave him the opportunity to return to Venice?
Donald is an amazing guy. I've worked with a lot of older actors who, like, force you to sit down and listen to their stories.
But Donald is one who I would pick his brain all the time. He is a sweet guy and we had a very similar approach to the work, in that it's not about him, it's about the story and the team and working with that.
But yeah, the stories from Donald were amazing. In fact, he'd probably not want me to repeat them, because we got comfortable with each other and he gave me some of the dirt.
But those were amazing times, you know? The world was a lot safer place, to play.

Q. I read in the production notes that Seth Green considered this to be a great ensemble piece who had a wild time filming it... How wild?
I think a wild night for Seth is a game of backgammon and a large, tall glass of milk! He's not a wild one.
No, we all spent a lot of time together, we would hang out in between set ups and stuff, and thoroughly enjoyed one another's company.

Q. Were you able to slip in and out of character very easily? Were you the natural leader, for example?
I was never, like, I was the leader; I had the job of the planner, but everybody was the ideal guy for their particular role in the film and on the crew. So I never really felt like I was the leader, I think if I ever had to pull something together, then I would, but I just felt like one of the guys and it was my job to plan this thing. And they were all of equal importance.

Q. What did you make of the original Italian Job?
I loved it. The first thing I did was send it to my dad, because he, as well as I, thought we had seen every cool heist/caper movie ever made. So it was great for me to turn him onto that.
And I thought that what they [the new writers] did with the script, people, especially the die-hard fans, would respond in a positive way and really appreciate that we took what we loved about the movie and still tried to make our own story but, at the same time, paying homage to the original.

Q. Given that this is considered to be a classic British movie, and we don't make many, do you find that the reaction is different over here from people seeing it? Are people giving you a harder time?
Die hard fans will certainly remain sceptical. But I've worked with a number of English actors and I respect their opinion and I've shown them the film and they've approved, so they're the toughest critics.
And also, now that our movie has been such a success in America, and people are aware that there is an original, the original has now fond a life of its own, which is nice.

Q. How much contact did you have with Sir Michael Caine and did he give you any pointers about the role?
I didn't. I haven't spoken to him. I would love to know if he has seen the movie and if he liked it. But Seth Green was on a plane with him and he was well aware that we were making the movie and that I was in it, and Seth said that he pretty much approved.

Q. Going back to the fact that you are aware of being unofficially dubbed the king of the remakes, were you surprised by the reaction to Planet of the Apes and if you were to go back to it, what would you change?
I'd probably put human beings instead of gorillas. I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi, or anything that's not reality based, I really have a hard time committing to 110%, but it was a dream of mine to work with Tim Burton and I would do it again, I would do anything he asked me to do.
As for how it was received, it was mixed. Some people liked it, some didn't, they [the studio] are certainly happy it made $200 million and they want to do another one.
I said I would do it if Tim did it, and Tim went on to say that he would rather jump out of a window, so I'm probably going to have to follow Tim out of the window.

Q. Would you be interested in doing a sequel to The Italian Job?
It's been talked about, and I think we'd all be interested if the material was as good as this. I know we all had a blast, and we all love and respect each other and would certainly like to work with each other again, it's just a matter of someone coming up with a great story and location.

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