Mark Wahlberg on Leading the Sun Gym Gang, Michael Bay, and Cocaine Cowboys
You do a monologue when Lugo is in court in the beginning of the movie. Did you do that on your own or was that in the script?
It was written into the script, but I improvised a lot during the shooting of the movie. Michael gave me the freedom to just do my thing, like when I am talking to the kids.
The scene where you are passing on Lugo's knowledge to the kids after a game of basketball was made up, right? That didn't really happen.
No, no. We made it up. When we started talking about the bench-pressing and hanging out with them, I just wanted to go off. It was a fun scene. The kids were really into it. But their parents didn't know what I was saying at the time.
What is it like to work with Bay?
He is fantastic. There is no downtime. We are shooting constantly. You are never in your trailer waiting for hours at a time. It's just get it done and try to get as many different versions [of a scene] as possible so he has choices in the editing room.
When you saw the first cut, what was your impression?
I thought it was just crazy. It reminded me of Boogie Nights, Pulp Fiction, and Fargo. It is just so damn different and refreshing. I am fascinated by crime thrillers, dramas, and sagas. It is right up my alley.
Did you get a feel for Miami from reading the New Times story?
Yeah. It is an incredible place. You can see why so many people want to come here. It is like Los Angeles. There is a lot of temptation. You have a lot of people who don't have [material wealth] and see a lot of people who do have it. I can see how it could be easy to be lured into the idea of doing something to get rich quick -- trying to get the American dream the easy way instead of earning it.
That's what this movie about, isn't it?
Yeah, exactly. People always wanting more -- that is a recurring theme in the bodybuilding world. If they can just get a little bigger here or more cut there, they feel better.
Are you still moving forward with your Cocaine Cowboys movie?
Yeah, Bill Monahan, who wrote The Departed, is working on a script right now. I am very excited about it. He is one of the best writers I have ever worked with. He's watched the documentary and read [the late cocaine smuggler] John Roberts' book. Bill has been following John's path, which led him to Miami. I am really excited about it.
Are you excited about playing John Roberts?
Yeah, absolutely. I want to find someone great to play Mickey Munday. It is a fascinating story.
Did you get to meet John before he died?
What was your impression of him?
He was just raw. For me, the world I come from, I have been around a lot of people who have done a lot of bad things. I try not to judge them based on that. What I get from them is a sense of what kind of person they really are. John was a real hard-core dude.
Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness