Mark Wahlberg’s newest film, The Gambler, has gotten a lot of buzz lately for the work that he had to put into the role. He slimmed down, read up, and played in every casino he could to understand the protagonist, Jim Bennett. While his dedication is undoubtably impressive, every time I read an article about what he willingly put himself through, I can only think of one thing— I am so glad I’m not Mark Wahlberg.
I get that he has the money, the fame, and even the looks, but I can’t help but think that most of us—OK, I—wouldn’t have the diligence or the desire necessary to complete the things he did for the role.
First, there’s all the work he did on his physique. According to MSN Entertainment, Wahlberg said he lost over 60 pounds for the role through exercise, which included jumping rope for three hours a day and a liquid diet for six weeks.
Now, I’ve done smoothies for breakfast before, but if the only thing I was ingesting for a few days was a plain protein shake or almond milk, I’d probably faint. Well, that I would fling myself over the counter of the next bakery I walked by.
Then, in an interview that was posted on the actor’s fansite, Wahlberg said he played poker and other casino games in his Hong Kong hotel room (where he was staying while filming Transformers: Age of Extinction) every night. He even borrowed other friends’ money just to lose it all at the Chinese casinos, purposefully disappointing his loved ones in order to gain a better understanding of the shame Bennett feels each time he does the same.
There are very few things that I want to do every single night, but willingly putting myself in a situation where I know I’m going to feel shameful and completely humiliated? No thanks. Hell, I don’t even think that playing poker would have enough of a draw to get me to do it every night, let alone keep my attention. The last time I tried to get some poker tips before playing with buddies, I read the “How to Play Guide” for about two minutes before getting distracted by a game on betfair that’s modeled after The Sopranos. Its fictitious police and raids are pretty much the closest I’ve come to being in “too deep” in any gambling scenario.
Also, I get that the guy makes millions, but part of me really doesn’t envy his personal life either.
According to Yahoo News, the 43-year-old actor is still trying to get his past criminal charges pardoned from his record. Author Steve LeBlanc explained that Wahlberg has been “seeking a pardon for violent assaults committed as a troubled teen in Boston in 1988, when he hit a man in the head with a wooden stick while trying to steal alcohol from a convenience store.” He apparently then “punched another man in the face while trying to avoid police.” As a result, he served 45 days in jail, though he had been sentenced to three months.
The request, which Wahlberg filed last month, is currently pending before the state parole board. So far they have not decided whether to grant a hearing or make a recommendation to the governor.
I’m actually really glad that the only interaction I’ve had with the authorities as of late were the fictitious ones in the Sopranos slot. Maybe it’s just because I can’t fathom having that amount of money or just how “great” being famous is. If I did, maybe then I could see how all that work would be worth it. But for now, I’m pretty happy eating solid foods, not having to deal with the real police, and having my nights to do with what I please. If I want to disappoint my family and friends, it’ll be on my own terms, dammit!