Mark Wahlberg Talks Future Projects: Contraband and The Fighter Sequel
03.15.11 by Ryan
Now that Award season is over, Mark Wahlberg is done collecting accolades for The Fighter, the biopic he produced and starred in as welterweight fighter "Irish" Micky Ward, and is back to work on Contraband, the remake of the 2008 Icelandic thriller Reykjavík-Rotterdam. The movie follows Wahlberg as a former smuggles who may return to his criminal ways after an associate makes him a lucrative offer. Set photos were revealed in early February, which Wahlberg told EW shows him out of fighting shape.
Well, I certainly took some time off and enjoyed the fruits of my labor and stuffed my face, drank a lot of wine, and then had a lot of people say, "Dude, you don’t look the same." [When I first] showed up on the set of this movie, they were like, "Dude, you can’t show up to work looking like that. They’re expecting you to be in shape like you were for The Fighter."
Wahlberg revealed more plot details for Contraband, which was written by Aaron Guzikowski and is directed by Baltasar Kormákur, who took over from Reykjavik-Rotterdam writer-director Óskar Jónasson.
Yeah, it’s a remake of an Icelandic film, and I play a guy who was a world-class smuggler and who’s left that world behind for his wife and children. My younger brother-in-law gets in trouble in the merchant marine world and has some very shady people after him, so I go back for one last run to fix this problem for him. We’ve been having a lot of fun, shooting it down-and-dirty very much like The Fighter. But it’s very different from my performance in The Fighter. There’s a lot of energy, excitement, and humor.
Wahlberg is still interested in returning to the world of The Fighter, after shooting the video game adaptation Uncharted with his Fighter director David O. Russell. Before the Oscars ceremony, Wahlberg revealed plans for a sequel, and explained that they're still "talking" about making the movie, which would reunite the Oscar-winning cast.
I got bit by the bug, and now I’m trying to plant the idea in everyone’s head that we should do — not five or six Fighters like Rocky — but one more because the big thing that Micky Ward was famous for was his three epic battles with Arturo Gatti. So we’re talking about possibly taking one more run at it. Everybody had such an amazing experience making the movie that I can’t imagine they wouldn’t want to go back. But it’s still kind in the early stages.
Wahlberg has talked about the difficulty in getting The Fighter before cameras, a process that took years of Wahlberg trying to sell the movie while directors and actors would commit and then leave for other projects. All the while Wahlberg would receive phone calls from Ward, who was adamant about telling his story and that of his boxer/trainer brother Dicky Ecklund. Wahlberg says that phone calls haven't stopped about the Fighter sequel.
They’re both thrilled by the possibility. I just keep getting the phone calls. From Micky, yeah. Saying, "Make sure you get it done."
In Contraband-related news, actor J.K. Simmons, known for portraying J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man movies and teaching students the finer points of Farmer's Insurance in a series of commercials, revealed he will join Wahlberg in the movie.
I’m going to shoot a film called Contraband in New Orleans with Mark Wahlberg next month, and I’m playing a captain.