Mark Wahlberg and Michael Bay took their relationship from Pain & Gain and pumped it up to even bigger levels for the upcoming action film, Transformers: Age of Extinction. While on the Detroit-based set that acted as a stand-in for Hong Kong, I got the awesome opportunity to join a small group of journalists in interviewing the cast and crew throughout the day before watching an insane stunt sequence to wrap it all up.
Between quick takes on a smaller action sequence, Wahlberg was kind enough to take some time for us on the sidelines, where he talked about drawing on his experience as a father to develop his character, why he chose to get back into a big action movie, his take on stuntwork, and the responsibility he feels for being the new face of this franchise. He also teased an idea that could have him singing the film’s title track. Hit the jump for all of that and more.
Mark Wahlberg: Well, exactly that. It’s very different. But I enjoy the idea of playing the dad, and I hadn’t really envisioned myself doing that until recently, but I enjoy it. I am a dad, I’ve got four small children; my oldest is a girl. You know the whole thing about having to deal with the boyfriend and all those things, are things that I think about all the time. And, of course, just having the chance to work with Michael on a movie like this where I know I can still have enough room and freedom to develop the character and make it my own, like we did in Pain & Gain. He trusts me to do my thing. We’ve collaborated a lot together, so it’s been a great experience.
Have you gotten in the cars yet?
Wahlberg: Yeah, I’ve been in quite a few of them.
You had done a bunch of these bigger movies and then gone away from that. How eager were you to jump back into something with this scale?
Wahlberg: You know, I love that fact that I’ve made a lot of movies recently where we shot them in like 35 or 40 days. This one, now we’re at day 43 and we’re not even half-way yet. But you know, it’s a big story and it’s something that I’m excited about and haven’t done for a while. My kids are really excited about it. It’s just different. And I’ve gotten to a place where I don’t have to be so crazy about waiting around. The big stuff is easier to deal with at this point in time, but I did purposely get away from it for a while.
From the sizzle reel that we saw, we kinda got a sense of where the movie is and where it’s coming from, but can you tell us anything about what you’re filming today? Or how you get to Hong Kong?
Wahlberg: We get to Hong Kong in about three minutes. [laughs] The exact line in the movie that I have is, “How fast can this thing get us halfway around the world?” He says something like, “2:54.”[laughs] Because we don’t have that kind of time, so… Can’t get there much faster. But yeah, so we’re here now. It’s one of those things with Michael … I spoke to him about what he’s comfortable with me saying and not saying, pretty much that I’m playing a single dad who’s an ambitious inventor, and that’s pretty much it. Ask him the rest of this stuff. [laughs]
Can you be a little more specific about how different this is from say Planet of the Apes to this?
Wahlberg: It was such a long time ago. It’s just, you know, I’m a completely different person. I’m a lot more comfortable in my own skin. I remember saying while playing the part like Planet of the Apes, I could never really connect to it, you know? It was one of those things.
With this movie, do you feel like you’re sort of coming into an existing family?
Wahlberg: Yes and no. You know, obviously it’s a lot of the same people who have worked on the first three, but it just feels like a different movie, too. It feels like that to everybody. They’ve all been very nice to me and welcomed me with open arms. A lot of these people actually worked on Pain & Gain as well; Michael usually works with the same people, so…
Wahlberg: I don’t even think about that. [laughs] With everything that I do, I just try to do the best job possible. Obviously being a producer in this business, I understand, but you can’t think about those things. I’m in a great space creatively, and like I said, Michael and I have a great relationship both on and off the set. He really trusts me to do my thing and bring what I can to this story as a whole and to my character and the other characters around me, working with the other kids, having the experience that I have, and being able to work with people.
We hear you love doing your own stunts. Are they letting you do some of them?
Wahlberg: No, I don’t in particular. I do what’s asked of me. I’m too old to be a thrill-seeker now and people who say, “Oh, I’m such a badass, I do my own stunts,” and then they’re coming out of the make-up chair, and now they’re looking at themselves in the mirror [laughs].
Are you going to be on the soundtrack, because I know you sang Stan Bush’s “You’ve Got the Touch”? I feel like now that you’re in a Transformers movie, it’s maybe time to reprise?
Wahlberg: You know, I was joking around before, [because] we’re on this big alien spaceship, and it looked more like a stage, right? Like a concert stage? And I was standing there and the women who work on the thing were like below, and I just started feeling like, “Oh, shit, I gotta start rappin’!” [laughs] I told Mike, I said, “Dude, I’ve got to do the title track for the soundtrack.” And then he was like, “You’re not serious, are you?” [laughs] And I said, “No, no.” But if he asks, I never said it.
What if I ask him to ask you?
Wahlberg: You can ask him. I don’t know if he’s going to go for that because he likes for it to be his own idea.
So I have to incept it.
You mentioned that you added to the character and helped morph it into what it is. What were some of your contributions?
Wahlberg: Every time I do a movie, I’m reading the script, or if it’s something I have coming up, I’m reading the script, and I just spend hours and hours and days and weeks and months going over the script and just writing a lot of different ideas down, finding a little dialogue or just coming up with ideas for scenes and moments and all that kind of stuff.
Wahlberg: Well they talked about doing it … when you make a deal like this, they’re definitely going to negotiate those things in advance. Now whether that happens obviously depends on the success of the movie and the audience will dictate that.
And you feel like this stands on its own?
Wahlberg: Absolutely, absolutely from what I’ve seen. And I’ve been in the editing room with Mike looking at a lot of the stuff. Nobody does what he does better in bringing the rest of it to life. The Autobots come alive and the robots are really nailed on screen. All the stuff that I’ve seen has been great. The idea is to make it better, there’s no doubt about that. It’s not about just milking this thing for all it’s worth, it’s about trying to make it better, and I feel a lot of responsibility with what I’m required to bring to the table, but I’m excited! I love challenging myself. Like having the opportunity to work with Denzel Washington, which is great; I get to go at him mano-a-mano. Who better to go at it with and get a chance to showcase what I can do? I don’t usually get too nervous about films. After being in prison, this is not something to be nervous about, it’s something to be excited about.
Here’s more from our Transformers: Age of Extinction Set Visit:
- 65 Things to Know About Michael Bay’s TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
- Michael Bay Talks TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, Working with Mark Wahlberg, Robot Redesigns, the New IMAX Camera, and More
- Jack Reynor and Nicola Peltz Talk TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, Action Scenes, Character Traits, Working with Mark Wahlberg and Michael Bay & More
- Stanley Tucci and Sophia Myles Talk TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, Filming Action Scenes, Working with Michael Bay, and Their Favorite Bay Movies