Mark Wahlberg says he spent ‘millions’ of his own money on new religious film: ‘This is God choosing me’

Actor was inspired by his costar Mel Gibson’s £23m investment in ‘The Passion of Christ’

Tom Murray
Thursday 14 April 2022 09:46 BST
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Mark Wahlberg has opened up about the personal investment he made to get his new movie Father Stu made after failing to secure financial backing.

Father Stu tells the true story of Stuart Long (played by Wahlberg), a boxer who became a Catholic priest while struggling with a progressive muscle disorder called inclusion body myositis.

Speaking to Insider, Wahlberg revealed that he spent “millions and millions” of his own dollars to bring the film to the big screen, inspired by his co-star Mel Gibson who invested $30m (£23m) in The Passion of the Christ to help finance it.

“Well, I'm always willing to bet on myself,” the actor said of his decision to self-finance.

Wahlberg said he showed the script to some potential investors but, ultimately, they didn’t get it. “Some people thought it was depressing because he’s sick at the end. They didn’t see the heart and the emotion and, ultimately, how inspiring it is,” he said.

Speaking of his inspiration from Gibson, Wahlberg added: “So I felt Mel had done it with The Passion, maybe I try it. And if I did find someone to finance, then that’s a whole other conversation because typically the person cutting the check also has notes and wants to be involved in the process.”

Asked how much he’d invested in the movie, Wahlberg said: “Let's just say I put millions and millions of dollars into the film — and then incurring other costs because we went over schedule in production, and there are clearances for the music.”

The Transformers star stipulated that a couple of his friends had also made small investments in the movie.

Wahlberg, who is a devout Catholic himself, added that he could not take credit for the movie’s success “because this is God choosing me to make the film”.

“He [God] knows finally I get to utilise all the talents and gifts that have been bestowed upon me for his greater good and to serve my part in his big picture. I mean, I prayed every day about getting this film made.”

Elsewhere in the same interview, Wahlberg revealed he’s had to move churches multiple times because he kept getting pitched movie ideas.

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