He first came to fame as the younger brother of Donnie of 80s & 90s teen sensations New Kids on the Block, earned a number one hit with ‘Good Vibrations’ as onetime rapper Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, and modelled Calvin Klein underwear with Kate Moss.
Now Mark Wahlberg is a bona fide Oscar-nominated Hollywood star and a successful producer for the big (The Fighter) and small screen (Entourage, Boardwalk Empire) to boot.
His breakthrough role as alter ego ‘Dirk Diggler’ in Paul Thomas Anderson’s depiction of the 70s porn industry, Boogie Nights launched a career as the go to guy for gritty and pulsating action crime thrillers (The Departed), and buddy cop comedies (The Other Guys). Wahlberg has become one of cinema’s most charismatic action stars.
March 16th sees Mark appear in his latest role as Chris Farraday in Baltasar Kormákur’s Contraband, a fast-paced thriller about the cut-throat underground world of international smuggling .
It gives us the perfect opportunity to take look at some of his career highlights to date.
- Contraband (2012) - Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
A re-make of 2008 Icelandic film Rekyavik-Rotterdam, Wahlberg plays Chris Farraday, who has abandoned his life of crime to make a new start with his family.
He is forced back into smuggling when his brother-in-law botches a drug deal for his ruthless boss (Giovanni Ribisi) and puts his family at risk, which he’ll do anything to protect.
- The Fighter (2010) - Directed by David O. Russell
Wahlberg achieved a career-high with The Fighter and it gave him his second Oscar-nomination (as Producer for Best Picture).
The film is Mark’s third collaboration with director David O. Russell, and charts the early years of real life boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Wahlberg) and his brother (Christian Bale) who helps him train before going pro in the mid 80s.
- The Other Guys (2010) - Directed by Adam McKay
Walhberg demonstrates his comedic chops as Detective Terry Hoitz in this buddy cop comedy from the director of Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy.
Starring alongside Will Ferrell as a pair of disgraced New York City police detectives Gamble and Hoitz who have been relegated to office desk jobs, they stumble into a seemingly innocuous case of a shady capitalist (played by Steve Coogan) that could turn into New York City's biggest crime.
- We Own The Night (2007) - Directed by James Gray
This American crime thriller is director James Gray’s second film to feature Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix together, the first being The Yards in 2000.
Set against the backdrop of the bloody battle waged between NYC cops and the Russian mafia in the 1980s, Phoenix plays New York nightclub manager, Bobby Green who tries to save his brother Joseph Grusinsky (Wahlberg) and father in the NYPD from Russian mafia hit men.
- The Departed (2006) - Directed by Martin Scorsese
Based on the 2002 Hong Kong film, Infernal Affairs about a mole in the police department and an undercover cop, Wahlberg received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar-nomination for his role as hot-headed Staff Sergeant Dignam, and almost steals the show with the best lines. The film also has the most uses of the F-word (237) to win the Best Picture Oscar.
- I Heart Huckabees (2004) - Directed by David O. Russell
Described as, an existential comedy, this ‘wacky’ film focuses on the unlikely pairing of Albert, an environmentalist (Jason Schwartzman) and Tommy, a fire-fighter (Wahlberg) who depend on a husband-and-wife existential detective team (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) to make sense of their existential crises.
The film is probably now better known for two videos leaked onto YouTube in March 2007 revealing major on-set arguments between director David O. Russell and Lily Tomlin.
- The Italian Job (2003) - Directed by F. Gary Gray
Walhberg stars as Charlie Croker in another re-make which updates the 1969 cockney-caper to a modern-day heist movie set in Los Angeles and Venice.
It features a top cast including Charlize Theron, Edward Norton and Donald Sutherland as a group of thieves who plan to steal gold bullion by creating Los Angeles' largest ever traffic jam.
- Planet Of The Apes (2001) - Directed by Tim Burton
Tim Burton’s re-make of the 1968 classic starring Charlton Heston has Wahlberg as astronaut Leo Davidson crash-landing on a planet inhabited by intelligent apes who treat humans as slaves. With the help of an ape named Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), Leo starts a rebellion against them.
Despite receiving mixed reviews, the film was a box office hit but Fox chose not to produce a sequel, and instead rebooted the Apes franchise altogether ten years’ later with Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
- Three Kings (1999) - Directed by David O. Russell
Set in the aftermath of the early 90s Gulf War, the New York Times claimed Three Kings to be ‘...the most caustic anti-war movie of this generation’.
Wahlberg stars as Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow alongside George Clooney and Ice Cube as a group of soldiers determined to steal gold that was stolen from Kuwait.
- Boogie Nights (1997) - Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Loosely based on the life of John Holmes, one of the most prolific male porn stars of all time, this film features Mark Wahlberg’s breakout performance as ‘Dirk Diggler’.
High-school dropout Eddie Harris (Wahlberg) is discovered by idealistic porn producer Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), and has a meteoric rise from nobody to celebrity adult entertainer ‘Dirk Diggler’ during the Golden Age of Porn of the 1970s.
He’s good looking, charismatic, and ahem...extremely well endowed. But things start to go wrong when Dirk succumbs to the excesses of the 1980s.
Contraband is released across UK cinemas from March 16.