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Mark Wahlberg

His old buddies might not be crashing on his couch, but even with a string of new films, an Oscar nomination and his choice of projects, Entourage's executive producer still gets by with a little help from his friends.

HBO
You've said that your new movie 'Shooter' is more thoughtful than the typical "assassin film.'" Can you tell us a little about what makes it different?




WAHLBERG
Well, it's based on the Stephen Hunter book, Point of Impact. It's a very, very, well-written action movie. It's kind of a throw-back to those seventies movies where it's extremely character-driven, but there's certainly enough ass-kicking to keep the big action aficionados satisfied.


HBO
The director, Antoine Fuqua is known to be pretty intense. What was it like working with him?


WAHLBERG
Oh, Antoine is awesome. I spent some of the day with him today. You know, he's the only director that I know that doesn't sleep or doesn't take a break. I don't know how he does it. I'm trying to learn some of his secrets. But, you know, he's just super smart, and he's extremely focused on the material, and he also is an unbelievable shooter himself. I mean, the movie just looks incredible. He's one of the few guys that I'd just show up to work for; I'd work on anything with him.


HBO
The days on the set were pretty physically tough?


WAHLBERG
Every day was tough, but you know, you kind of just gotta block that stuff out. A couple weeks after the movie is over you're going to forget all about that, but the movie will last forever. So, you don't want to compromise, you know. You'll regret it forever.


HBO
So 'Entourage' is heading into more episodes and a fourth season. How does it feel? Did you think the story had the legs to keep going?


WAHLBERG
I did, because we always looked at it like we were just trying to make a comedy in the traditional sitcom sense, about four or five people and their relationships. You know, just because of the whole Hollywood thing, I think people thought, well, it may be interesting for a little while, but it won't have any real legs.


But this world is crazy, there's a lot at stake, and there's a lot happening dramatically as well as it being ridiculously funny. So, I think it could be around as long as they want it to be around.

The next eight are phenomenal. I don't even want to read stuff anymore, I just want to turn on the TV on Sunday night and watch it like everybody else.

HBO
The show's not exactly biographical, but as it goes on, do you have the feeling that it's moving away from your life, and becoming more [executive producers] Doug Ellin and Stephen Levinson's show?


WAHLBERG
Oh yeah. It's definitely their thing, and it should be, you know. I lived that life already. I still bring some of the real life experiences to the table, like making 'The Departed.'




But, you know, my life has changed extremely. It's as boring as it could get, and I'm thrilled that I was able to get to that point, because for a while I didn't think I could. But those guys are doing an awesome job. Believe me, without them, there would never have been a show.

HBO
Is that right, your lifestyle isn't the model for 'Entourage' anymore?


WAHLBERG
Well, you know, there's stuff... there's a lot of crazy stuff that's going on... but nothing that I want to admit to. I don't want to get in any trouble.


HBO
Still a few details seem to find their way in... your mom refuses to fly, just like Vince's.


WAHLBERG
Oh yeah. I told her that I would get her a jet, the whole deal, to come out for the Oscars. It might be the only time I'm ever nominated in my life. She said no.


HBO
You can't round up a couple of her friends and get her on the jet? That's not going to work?


WAHLBERG
She'd seen that episode, so she's not going for that trick. No, she loved that episode, though.


HBO
We hear a lot of stories about real-life Hollywood and 'Entourage.' Do you find that the show still has people talking out there?


WAHLBERG
You know, when I'm on a press junket, I'm talking about 'Shooter' or 'The Departed,' it doesn't matter who I'm talking to or what I'm talking to them about, half of the conversation ends up being about 'Entourage.'


HBO
No kidding.


WAHLBERG
And I tell you at the Academy Awards, you'd think they'd just be talking about the Academy Awards, they start talking about 'Entourage.'


HBO
'The Departed' was obviously a blue-chip project. Be honest -- did it occur to you along the way that you might end up with the Oscar nomination?




WAHLBERG
'The Departed,' I mean, that's, that was crazy, you know. But you get a guy like Marty, and everybody wants to work with him. So you know he's the reason why all the people showed up, and changed their schedules, and cut their salaries and everything else, to have the opportunity to work with him.


HBO
How weird is it, heading to that ceremony?


WAHLBERG
It's a cool feeling. I've never been before. I always said I would only go if I was invited.


HBO
What the big day like, what's the Oscar preparation for Mark Wahlberg?


WAHLBERG
Not much. It's a Sunday, so church. Then brunch with my family. I put on the suit, get in the car.


HBO
So in addition to all of the projects we've talked about, you're producing a number of things for HBO. What can you tell us about the series 'In Treatment'?


WAHLBERG
Oh we're, we're thrilled about 'In Treatment.' I think it's going to be another hit. It's so well written that we were able to attract talent like Gabriel Byrne because of the material. It's not like we're doing some big concept or gimmick.


HBO
You've got other HBO projects, a possible 'Departed' sequel, films, an Oscar nomination. When you look back at your arrival in Hollywood, why do you think you made it? There must have been a lot of opportunities to make bad decisions.


WAHLBERG
Well yeah, I mean, look, everybody's out there doing their thing. I had plenty of time in the younger years to get out there and screw around and mess around. It all comes down to the choices, the people that I've surrounded myself with. You know, they've got my best interests at heart, and we've been fortunate in the choices that we've made.


But things don't always turn out the way you want, you know. You're making a movie, you always hope that it's going to be good, and sometimes it turns out that way, and sometimes it don't. So, you can't really think about it too much, you just gotta go...

HBO
You think the people around you are a big part of your success?


WAHLBERG
Oh, definitely. You've gotta have people around that you can trust and that have your best interests at heart.


HBO
So entourages don't have to fall apart, eventually? Everybody doesn't grow up and move on?


WAHLBERG
Well, grow up, move on, get married, have kids. Still work together. You don't have to have them laying all over your couch.




HBO
Is it really true that you filled a guest room with bunk beds when you bought your first real house in L.A.?


WAHLBERG
Yeah, oh yeah. They were all fighting over who's getting what room. They didn't even ask me nothing.


HBO
So once the bunks were established, though, they pretty much got the message?


WAHLBERG
Yeah. They were the first thing I had delivered.


HBO
You've said that you're to quit the business and join the PGA tour when you hit 40. You're a little closer, you still thinking of hanging it up?


WAHLBERG
No, my golf game is horrible.


HBO
So that means more movies?


WAHLBERG
Yeah, plus I'm also making movies that I enjoy now, that I would go and see. You know, for a while it, it felt like they weren't making that kind of movie anymore. Now I'm getting to do some really interesting character-driven stuff.


HBO
So you really are living the Hollywood dream. I mean, it's only going to get better from here.


WAHLBERG
Oh, it depends on how the situations turn out. We'll see what happens.


Interviews
Mark Wahlberg

Kevin Connolly

Adrian Grenier

Kevin Dillon

Jerry Ferrara

Jeremy Piven

Debi Mazar

Perrey Reeves

Rex Lee

Emmanuelle Chriqui

Doug Ellin

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