Arts observations: From Mark Wahlberg to Nile Rodgers

The gospel according to Marky Mark

Mark Wahlberg has a hard time keeping a straight face when asked what he has in common with his latest screen creation - a dim-witted, criminal body-builder in the dark comedy Pain & Gain.

Former con? Check.

Body-builder? Check.

Dim-witted. Nope.

Nobody gets to run a multi-million entertainment empire, producing films and TV series, and to star in blockbuster movies and steer a slew of philanthropic endeavours, without the prerequisite smarts. So if Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain - based on the bizarre true story of a group of unbelievably stupid, steroid-enhanced personal trainers in 90s Miami who tortured and killed their clients out of greed - seems like a bleak choice for this devout Catholic and married father-of-four, then the fact is, he just couldn’t help himself.

“I just loved the material. I had this fascination with the world of bodybuilding from a pretty young age,” says Wahlberg whose sculpted physique helped to sell a boatload of Calvin Kleins two decades ago,  and who recently launched his own line of sports nutrition supplements called "Marked". “I read the script before I read the articles and I said ‘There is no way this can be true’. But, sure enough, most of these things actually happened,” he says. Indeed Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay is based upon articles by the journalist Pete Collins.

Discussing the physical pain he endured making this film, Wahlberg turns suddenly serious: “Pain is going to prison at 17 years old,” he says referring to the 45 days he spent incarcerated at Boston's Deer Island House of Correction on assault charges. “So any time I play a role where I have real-life experience that I can bring to the table, I think it’s a benefit. It makes the role more authentic. Over my lifetime, I’ve known a lot of unsavoury characters. I still know a lot of crazy people.”

The young Wahlberg found salvation at the gym: “I was 16 years old and probably about 5’2" and 115 pounds, looking at going into adult prison, and I was like ‘Whoa, not a good place for a little scrawny kid’, so I started exercising and then I just started feeling better. It became a lifestyle for me to eat right and exercise. I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got to put on some weight here or something. Sew my butt-cheeks up, this is not going to be good’,” he grins. “But I was okay, thank God.”

Wahlberg, 42,  now has one of the toughest images in Hollywood, not only because of his rough childhood, but also thanks to hard man roles in The Departed, Shooter, The Fighter and, more recently, 2 Guns. The youngest of nine children growing up in a blue-collar Boston suburb, he became a regular fixture at the local police department, and was addicted to various hard drugs by the age of 13. At the same time, he joined his elder brother Donnie’s fledgling boyband, New Kids On The Block but quit before the band became an overnight sensation. Upon release from prison he would re-invent himself as rapper Marky Mark.

Later dropping his stage moniker in favour of an acting career, he made his big screen debut in 1994 opposite Danny DeVito in Renaissance Man and his star rapidly ascended, with a string of critically acclaimed movies including The Basketball Diaries, Boogie Nights, Perfect Storm and Four Brothers. A quick study, he made powerful friends, and executive produced the TV series Entourage, based upon his own life, and award-winning drama Boardwalk Empire as well as a variety of films including We Own The Night, Contraband and The Fighter.

“Hollywood is a tough racket but I am just appreciative to even be in the business,” he says.

Four years ago, he finally wed his long-time love and mother to his four children, Rhea Durham, a former model, in a church ceremony.

Today he tries to be a strong role model to his young family, down to removing his tattoos: “They all had meaning to me but I did that for both personal and professional reasons. When I was going to do The Fighter, I went to the dermatologist and asked how to get the tattoos removed and how long it would take. She told me five to seven visits. I’ve been doing it for four and a half years now and they’re still not completely gone. It was always a pain in the behind, putting make-up on and covering them up, but I also did it for my kids. If they want tattoos, they’re gonna get them. It is what it is. At 18 years old, nobody can tell you anything; you think you know everything. It isn’t until you’re in your 30s or 40s and have kids of your own, when you’re like, ‘Oh my God, everything my mother or father ever said was right on, but I just didn’t listen. I was such an idiot’.”

No push-over when it comes to raising his own family, Wahlberg is a regular presence on the playground and a lunchtime monitor at his kids’ private Beverly Hills Catholic school. “I’m strict when it comes to certain things but I also want to have a lot of fun with my kids and I want to be able to communicate with them and feel like they can confide in me, especially when they get older and face tough choices in their lives. It’s a fine line,” says Wahlberg.

“My sons really wanted to meet [Pain & Gain co-star] Dwayne Johnson and so I asked him if he would say hello to them while they were on the set. So he comes over to the trailer and they’re hiding when he comes in, and my youngest son has this obsession with punching people, and he punched Dwayne in the nuts,” he says, barely suppressing a smile.

In his mission to set his family a good example, the high school drop-out is currently completing his own high school diploma: “I always wanted to do it, I just never had the time and it wasn’t really available to do online till now. So, when I’m sitting in my trailer for hours and hours a day, I might as well be productive and studying. I don’t want my kids saying ‘Dad, you didn’t finish school, why do I have to?’  It’s also important when I'm looking at my third grader’s homework and I don’t think I understand it.”

In portraying Pain & Gain’s real-life thug Daniel Lugo, who was sentenced to death in 1998 for the murder of two people, he says: “I would have loved to have had the opportunity to meet with Lugo. But I had plenty of real-life experience to draw on with guys like that in Boston, and I met a lot of guys like this around the bodybuilding world when I first went to LA. Unfortunately I have quite a few friends who are in prison for the rest of their lives.”

As much as he is celebrated for his tough image, today Wahlberg claims that he’s unafraid to show his soft side: “Once I turned 40 I stopped giving a shit. I cry, I do whatever. I don’t care.”

'Pain & Gain' is on nationwide release

Out of this world (well, almost...)

By Charlotte Cripps

This artwork has got to be more interesting than tracking a parcel. A fragment of the moon will be taken by air freight courier around the Earth in a box (pictured) for one year, as part of Katie Paterson's new artwork Second Moon. "I bought the rock from a lunar meteorite dealer in Arizona – it came with a certificate of authenticity," says Paterson. It will be collected tomorrow by couriers from the Great North Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne and transported anti-clockwise across the globe to London, Shanghai, Sydney and San Francisco, orbiting the Earth 30 times. A free i Phone App will allow the public to track its journey in relation to the user's location, the Moon's location and the orbits of the other planets in the solar system. "We are using the express courier service so the little piece of the moon stays airborne as much as possible," she adds. "It will mirror the orbit of the real moon for a whole year."

A fragment of the moon will be taken by air freight courier around the Earth in a box (pictured) for one year, as part of Katie Paterson's new artwork Second Moon A fragment of the moon will be taken by air freight courier around the Earth in a box (pictured) for one year, as part of Katie Paterson's new artwork Second Moon

Since graduating from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2007, the Scottish artist, who is based in Berlin, has done a number of works that focus on the Moon and the cosmos. A custom-made Light bulb to Simulate Moonlight, 2009, that has a lifetime of 66 years, was exhibited in the group Light Show at the Hayward Gallery, London earlier this year. All the Dead Stars – a laser etched map that showed all 27,000 stars that have died in the universe – was exhibited in the Altermodern group show at Tate Britain in 2009. She has even gone as far as to transmit Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata to the moon and back in Earth-Moon-Earth, 2008. Every time a star dies, she writes a letter of condolence as part of her series The Dying Star Letter. She also set off a confetti cannon at the Venice Biennale in 2012, with her work 100 Billion Suns, which contained all the colours of the Gamma-ray burst. Meanwhile, in Ancient Darkness TV, 2009, she broadcast an image of the furthest away darkness in the universe at midnight for one minute, as part of a US performance festival. "Viewers would switch on only to see a black screen. But it was actually a time in the universe where light was just beginning to exist," she explains.

Why is she obsessed with the cosmos, space and time? "I have always been instinctively drawn to this subject," she says. "I am interested in our relationship to the Earth and to the wider solar system and our place within it."

She has always used a lot of ordinary technologies in her artworks, including record players, radios and mobile phones. "Likewise Second Moon is going on a very ordinary journey around the Earth. It will take people's imaginations to make that leap into visualising the Second Moon in relation to the wider universe," says Paterson.

After its epic journey, what does she hope to achieve by sending a human-made moon on a big trip? "Hopefully the box will be stamped with all the different locations it's been to. I will be pleased it made its journey without getting lost along the way."

The App can be downloaded from tomorrow: www.secondmoon. org.uk

A chorus of approval for a disco redo

By Elisa Bray

He's worked with everyone from Daft Punk to Madonna – so Nile Rodgers is, perhaps, an unlikely fan of the Brythoniaid Male Voice Choir. The choir, who formed in 1964 in Blaenau Ffestiniog, have covered his band Chic's hit "Good Times" for Festival Number 6, which takes place in the Welsh coastal village of Portmeirion next weekend.

Although the 70-strong choir are more accustomed to singing classical choral arrangements, they happily squeezed into the studio to record their interpretation of the disco classic, before filming a video in Portmeirion itself, prompting Rodgers' to tweet their version.

The choir's rendition of New Order's "Blue Monday" was a success at last year's inaugural festival, and next weekend will see them return to perform "Good Times" live at the Piazza, alongside covers yet to be revealed. Other performances over the weekend include rising young bands Daughter and London Grammar, the Manic Street Preachers, My Bloody Valentine – and Chic themselves.

(festivalnumber6.com) Fri to 15 Sept

One to watch: Luke Kempner, impressionist, 26

One to watch: Luke Kempner, impressionist, 26 One to watch: Luke Kempner, impressionist, 26 "It takes me two days to nail a voice," says Kempner whose show The Only Way is Downton, in which he voices everyone from Lady Mary to Andy Murray, has just enjoyed a five-star, sell-out run in Edinburgh. The musicals actor started out impersonating his fellow cast members in Les Mis. Last year he put a Downton skit on YouTube and went viral. Next up, a run at St James Theatre , a tour and perhaps TV? "I'm not ruling it out." Alistair McGowan, watch out.

Arts and Entertainment
The new Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris
architecture

Arts and Entertainment
Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham
Downton

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

art
Arts and Entertainment
The kid: (from left) Oona, Geraldine, Charlie and Eugene Chaplin

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised

art
Arts and Entertainment

Review: Series 5, episode 4 Downton Abbey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past