When Mark Wahlberg first read the script for his new film “Max Payne,” which debuts in theaters on Friday, he didn’t need much persuading to take on the title role.
“It’s the most kick-ass action movie I’ve ever been part of,” said Wahlberg, heavy on the superlatives.
But the star of recent crime dramas “The Departed” and “We Own the Night,” said he was looking for “something very different” and “Max Payne,” in which he portrays a cop seeking vengeance for the brutal murder of his wife and child, was just the ticket.
The movie is based on the popular “Max Payne” videogames, and while the actor agrees that most games don’t translate well to the big screen, he is confident “Max Payne” will deliver the goods for both movie fans and gamers.
“The game itself is very cinematic (and) the story is very elaborate,” he said. “When I read this script, I loved it and the character, and it was very appealing to be back in a world full of some serious energy and intensity.”
The movie has a strong supernatural element, too, as much of the time Payne must deal with people who are under the influence of a strong drug that causes hallucinations.
Moreover, Payne is no one-note action hero, Wahlberg said, stressing that the hero is driven by emotion and the horrific death of his family, which makes him identifiable for audiences and for Wahlberg, who has three children of his own.
“I could very easily relate to him, and I felt I could pull it off. It felt like a good fit for me.”
Father first, golfer secondLife is good for Wahlberg right now, professionally and personally. He stars in widely anticipated upcoming film “The Lovely Bones” directed by “Lord of the Rings” filmmaker Peter Jackson, and his position as executive producer of HBO hit “Entourage” brought him success outside acting.
Moreover, the Oscar-nominated star (supporting actor for 2006’s “The Departed”) is now the father of two boys and a girl with his longtime girlfriend Rhea Durham, whom he plans to marry next year.
“I’m a pretty happy guy these days, and family life is amazing,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about for me now.”
The native of Boston grew up in a large family but said that having more kids is not his decision, alone.
“I love big families, but it depends on what Rhea can handle. I’m not the one who has to carry them and give birth. She’s got the tougher end of the job, so maybe a couple more.”
But he admits his busy life is taking its toll on another big passion — golf. He said that in the past, he would sometimes lie about his schedule just to get on the links, but now with the kids at home, it’s hard to get away.
Still, he sees hope for the future if his kids take up the game, too. “My kids actually like the game. My daughter’s only 5, but she’s already got a great swing,” he said with a smile.
He added that family life has changed him “dramatically” in the past five to 10 years and “all for the better.”
“I used to go out and party all the time, running around, and now I’m a responsible family man. I’m glad I sowed all my wild oats early on, because it’s all about my family now — and my golf game.”