Diary: Wahlberg's curtain call

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The Independent Online

Mark Wahlberg says he's never been much interested in treading the boards. "I've learned from Jeremy Piven," he says of his Entourage co-star, who was forced to abandon a Broadway run of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow in 2008, claiming excessive sushi consumption had given him mercury poisoning. Couldn't one just stay away from raw fish? "I played an Oompa Loompa in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory in fifth grade, and it was a lot of work," Wahlberg admitted at the premiere of his new film comedy, The Other Guys. "But if I ever did a play again, it would be A Streetcar Named Desire." In fact, Stanley Kowalski's not a bad fit – ladies, you remember how Marky Mark looks in a vest, right? In the meantime, Wahlberg and pals are hoping to make an Entourage film after the HBO dramedy's eighth and final series. The actor's early years in Hollywood were the inspiration for the show, which he still co-produces. "The plan is to make a movie," he maintains, "and we're doing everything in our power to make it happen."

* If you're bored by all the adoring coverage of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom (this column's preferred Great American novel of 2010), fear not. All the talk in lit-land will soon be of another white, middle-class male American. Sadly, this one is no longer alive to irritate Oprah: publishers Little, Brown and Co have announced that The Pale King, the unfinished final work by David Foster Wallace, will be released posthumously on 15 April (thus making it likely to be this column's preferred Great American novel of 2011). Wallace, a close friend of Franzen's, took his own life in 2008, aged 46. The publication date is known in the US as "tax day", the date on which income tax returns are due – and The Pale King, its US cover designed by Wallace's widow, Karen Green, is, say its publishers, about "a crew of entry-level processors and their attempts to do their job in the face of soul-crushing tedium [at] an IRS tax-return-processing centre in Illinois in the mid-1980s". A beach read, then.

* Ex-Labour minister Phil Woolas is in court to defend the conduct of his election campaign in Oldham East and Saddleworth, a battle he won by a mere 103 votes. Accused of smearing his Liberal Democrat opponent, he risks being stripped of his victory. Luckily for him, he's armed with a formidable defence barrister. Gavin Millar, QC, was once described by Chambers & Partners as an "incredible cross-examiner", a trait he's demonstrated in court this week. In 2007, he was named one of the The Lawyer's "Hot 100" (a ranking based on legal reputation, not physical attractiveness). Moreover, he's the brother of one Fiona Millar, known for her own relentless and forensic arguments on education policy – and as the partner of Woolas's one-time Labour colleague, Alastair Campbell.

* Beloved former Eastender and I'm A Celebrity... winner Joe Swash was working the trading floor alongside BGC stockbrokers this week, in aid of the sixth annual BGC Charity Day. Key question: who's Joe backing for the Labour leadership? "Er..." Miliband (D), maybe? "Yeah, David Miliband, he's, er... I like him." "Or maybe Ed," Joe's minder interjected, cryptically.

* Meanwhile, an eager photographer persuaded Tony Christie to take a break from playing the financial markets and have his picture taken with the delightful Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud. "There are only two people in the history of showbusiness whose work I admire," the old crooner confessed, gesturing in Ms Roberts's direction. "Frank Sinatra, and her."