Boston native Mark Wahlberg talks Spenser Confidential, his troubled youth, and Hollywood

Actor Mark Wahlberg got candid with The Guardian during an interview about his new Netflix movie Spenser Confidential. He talked openly about how his time on the mean streets of Boston as a youth helped make his acting more believable and “authentic”. According to Wahlberg, the keys to his eventual success were hard work, faith, and family. The actor put in the work, is devout in his faith, and avoids the Hollywood scene at all costs.

Mark Wahlberg Is A Breath Of Fresh Air

Given how narcissistic and full of themselves so many celebrities are these days, it’s refreshing to see someone like Wahlberg who is down to earth and appreciates what he has.

The Boston native  was able to turn his entire life around through hard work and a strong devotion to God. Wahlberg is a devout Catholic and starts every day with a half hour of prayer beginning at 2:45 am.

BACKSTORY: Mark Wahlberg Starts Every Day With 30 Minutes of Prayer

What’s more impressive, Wahlberg went from being a young gang-banger to a Hollywood A-lister that people can look up to. We need more celebrities in the world like him!

Mark Wahlberg’s Troubled Youth 

Wahlberg grew up in a poor part of Boston as the youngest of nine children. The now A-list actor said it didn’t take long for him to start making bad decisions. 

“I was always in trouble, and I was kind of little,” he recalled. “In the circumstances where I was being preyed upon, at times, I had to protect and defend myself. It’s not an easy thing to navigate as a teenage kid who’s 5ft 2in, 120lb, with grown men.”

Things quickly went downhill for Wahlberg as he became addicted to cocaine and other substances at a young age. It all came to a head when Wahlberg assaulted a Vietnamese shopkeeper and hurled racial slurs at him while high on PCP. 

The Invincible actor candidly admits, “I’ve made a lot of terrible mistakes – and paid for them dearly”.

Wahlberg served a brief prison sentence for his crime and the shopkeeper has since publicly forgiven him. He also said that his troubled past in Boston helped him become a better actor.

His Life Experience Drives ‘Authenticity’

“I do think the one thing I have to my advantage is that I have all this real life experience that I can apply to my work,” he said. “I think audiences can definitely sense authenticity. But that came with a real price.”

The Boston tough guy, who found God and now starts every day with prayer, is known to play hardened characters including boxers and bent cops.

RELATED: Mark Wahlberg Explains How He Boldly Shares His Faith With Hollywood Peers

He even won a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for playing a killer in The Departed directed by Martin Scorsese. Wahlberg also worked as a producer on The Fighter and “Boardwalk Empire” both with pain and fighting which have drawn admiration and awards.

In his most recent Netflix movie Spenser Confidential, Wahlberg even gave a part to someone who had been incarcerated for 16 years. 

“He got out and I put him in the movie. That could have easily been my life. Being in a situation like that and having nothing else – certainly I made a lot of terrible mistakes and I paid for those mistakes dearly.”

Mark Wahlberg Turned His Life Around

Wahlberg eventually had an epiphany. The now 48-year-old actor realized that he if he wanted to change his circumstances, it was up to him “to actually change them.”

So he actually “did the work”.

The Lone Survivor actor recalls, “I took it upon myself to own up to my mistakes and go against the grain and not be a part of the gang any more – to say that I was going to go and do my own thing. Which made it 10 times more difficult to walk from my home to the train station, to go to school, to go to work.”

When asked if this meant he made himself vulnerable, Wahlberg said, “Oh absolutely. But I also prided myself on doing the right thing and turning my life around. Whether I found myself venturing off into Hollywood and a music career, or working a 9-to-5 job as a construction worker, whatever path I was going to take, I was going to do the right thing. So I think no, judging a person on what he’s doing and where he’s coming from and all those things, no, I would hope that people would be able to get a second chance in life.”

Avoid The Hollywood Scene

These days, Wahlberg prefers staying home with his family to being part of the Hollywood scene.

But how can you live in Beverly Hills and stay down to earth? The Guardian wanted to know so they asked Wahlberg’s secret. Is it possible to be an A-list actor and not get sucked into the Hollywood vortex

“Yeah, but other than working, I go to the supermarket. I don’t go to dinner parties on the scene, or screenings,” he said. “I live in Beverly Hills, but it could easily be the English countryside, because I don’t see anyone and I don’t do anything. I don’t go to awards unless I have a movie in them. I go to bed early, I get up early, I take my kids to school and I’m with my wife if I’m not I’m working.”

It’s interesting to get a glimpse into what drives Mark Wahlberg; he couldn’t have predicted the life he has today based off his early childhood. But, he has a wealth of background to pull from for his characters.

He’s even tried some comedies including Daddy’s Home and Ted. Although, Ted is a bit rough around the edges (much like the actor). And even managed to have a fight scene in it.

Whether it be comedy or drama, you know Mark Wahlberg will put in the work to deliver a solid, honest performance. 

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