Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Mark Wahlberg Weighing Retirement ‘Sooner Rather Than Later,’ Focus on ‘Faith-Based Content’

From Dirk Diggler to a deacon, Mark Wahlberg has played it all.

The “Boogie Nights” star most recently transformed into a Catholic priest for the new film “Father Stu,” out April 13. Wahlberg also produced the film based on the true story of a boxer turned priest.

“The Fighter” star told Entertainment Tonight that “Father Stu” is a turning point in his career.

“I feel like this is starting a new chapter for me in that, now, doing things like this [with] real substance can help people,” Wahlberg said. “I definitely want to focus on making more. I wouldn’t say necessarily just faith-based content but things that will help people.”

He added, “Hopefully this movie will open a door for not only myself but for lots of other people in Hollywood to make more meaningful content.”

Wahlberg has called “Father Stu” a “dream role” that chose him to do “God’s good” work. The “Uncharted” star also asked the Boston priest who mentored the real-life Stuart Long to consult on the film.

Similarly, Wahlberg previously took on the true story of Joe Bell, a man who walked across the US to speak out against homophobic bullying after his teenage son committed suicide. The eponymous film “Joe Bell” received mixed reviews out of the Toronto International Film Festival in 2020, and a quiet release the following year.

However, while reflecting on his career as a whole, Wahlberg hinted that he might be stepping away from Hollywood “sooner rather than later, probably” to spend more time with his four children.

“It’s got to be something special to really bring me, you know, to leave home, to leave those guys behind,” Wahlberg star said, “because it’s the biggest sacrifice in the making, for sure.”

With more than 60 films to his name, and plenty more in the works as a producer including “The Six Billion Dollar Man” big-screen adaptation and Julius Caesar epic “The Roman,” Wahlberg has been an A-list staple for decades.

Yet in 2017, Wahlberg put his breakout role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights” in a new religious light.

“I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past,” Wahlberg said during an appearance at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, alongside Cardinal Blasé Cupich. “‘Boogie Nights’ is up there at the top of the list.”

Wahlberg later clarified his comments, saying, “I was sitting in front of a couple of thousand kids talking about and trying to encourage them to come back to their faith, and I was just saying that I just hope He has a sense of humor because I maybe made some decisions that may not be okay with Him.”

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