Hong Kong in the summer time is a whole different magnitude of hot and humid than I think I've ever experienced before. While I'm sorry we didn't end up doing the interviews for “Transformer: Age Of Extinction” outside where you could have seen more of the city, I get it. It was punishing weather, and I'm sure if you're Mark Wahlberg, you don't want to to spend six hours sitting in that while people ask you about working with giant robots.
I am an unabashed fan of Wahlberg, both as an on-screen presence and as a person. I think he's had a fascinating personal evolution over the last twenty years, and I love the way filmmakers have evolved their own thinking about how to cast him and what roles he fits. One of the best things that happened to him was when people realized that his earnestness can be wildly hilarious in the right context.
When I walked into the room to talk to him, I mentioned one of the stranger experiences I've had during a set visit, when I visited the Boston location of the Ricky Gervais film “The Invention Of Lying.” My driver for the two days I was in town was a really friendly local guy who told me that Hollywood had optioned the rights to tell his life story, and we talked a lot about it. It was only later that I realized that the guy, Mickey Ward, was telling the truth and that the movie about his life, “The Fighter,” turned out to be positively amazing.
I thought it was telling that as we settled down to start the interview, Wahlberg was totally down for just telling Micky Ward stories. We also touched on “Lone Survivor,” which I know is a professional high point for him, and I wanted to give him a chance to talk about how it affected him a bit more.
Overall, I think Wahlberg is a guy who understands the business side of this industry exceptionally well, but who has found a way to also indulge just enough of what he considers personally important to keep himself sane. And any dad who would put himself through something as brutally demanding as a Michael Bay “Transformers” shoot to impress his kids is a guy I can relate to.
“Transformers: Age Of Extinction” opens in theaters on Friday.