Mark Wahlberg, the Oscar-nominated actor, stars in a movie this weekend about getting high with a teddy bear. Again. The follow-up to his smash hit 2012 comedy Ted reunites Wahlberg with writer/director Seth MacFarlane – who also voices the foul-mouthed plaything – and gives the actor yet another opportunity to prove his comedic chops, in between serious dramas and blockbuster action thrillers like last year’s Transformers: Age of Extinction.
I was called on the phone to interview Mark Wahlberg about an hour earlier than originally planned, so what you are about to read is the stammering of a guy who hadn’t really planned to interview a major celebrity at the moment, and got a little Chris Farley on him. Fortunately, Wahlberg is a fun guy who loves his work, and who really loves Tom Brady, and was happy to talk about his new movie and some of his more memorable early roles in films like Renaissance Man, The Big Hit and Fear.
Ted 2 is now playing in theaters.
Related: ‘Ted 2’ Review: Bearly Legal
CraveOnline: Ted 2 is the first sequel you’ve done to a movie you were actually in. What made this the right sequel for you? The opportunity must have come up before, right?
Mark Wahlberg: Yeah, but for me it’s only worth it if we can make it better than the first, and Seth [MacFarlane] came up with a great idea, and a completely new idea. So I thought yeah, why not?
And it gives you an opportunity to smoke what I imagine is an awful lot fake weed…?
Horrible, yeah. If we’re going to smoke we might as well go back to the real thing.
What is that like? What is that stuff?
It’s like herbal tobacco. It’s just awful. Smells like shit, tastes like shit.
I appreciate the sacrifices you make for us. I’m not a sports guy. Tell me about the significance of Tom Brady to John and Ted?
For any Boston/New England sports fan he is as high regarded as anybody ever in the history of sports, or the history of New England. Four time Super Bowl winner. If we’re going to get somebody to be a sperm donor, you want to make the perfect super baby, who better than to get the sperm from Tom Brady?
So was Tom Brady really game for this?
Absolutely! He and I have been friends for a while. He actually came to visit on the set of the first [Ted] and he thought that it was pretty ridiculous until he saw the first movie, became a huge fan. And then when the scene was written in there I called him and as soon as he stopped laughing he said yes right away.
One of my favorite bits in the film was when you recreate the dancing from The Breakfast Club. Was that easy? Did everyone just have that choreography just ingrained in their head?
Yeah, I mean it’s such an iconic moment. We had a choreographer there but we just kind of did that on the day. They wanted us to rehearse beforehand but we just kind of jumped in an did it.
What is it like acting with Ted, considering that Ted is also the director? Is it incredible technical or is there a lot of freedom in it?
It’s very technical. When you’re talking about the movement and the choreography of the bear, it’s very technical. If he’s stationary it’s easy. We can put a little tool there for the eyeline. Other than that we’re out there making pretend. I’ve got Seth there, he and I have great chemistry, and you know it’s all on the page but it’s fun to improvise and play around and try new things. We’re always open to that too.
Mila Kunis isn’t back for this sequel. A lot of the film is structured around her character not being there. Was there ever talk about trying to bring her back?
Yeah, but you always felt like as much as they loved each other and they wanted to make it work, they weren’t really right for each other. They were destined to drift apart. They looked at life differently and so I think [John] kind of being alone gave Ted an opportunity to be there for him, and you get an opportunity to see what kind of a person Ted is. What kind of a person he should be considered as.
Tell me about filming at Comic-Con, did you recreate that or did you film it on the actual floor of the New York Comic-Con?
We actually went to the real Comic-Con and then they created another one for the more intricate stuff, so a little bit of both.
You’ve been to Comic-Cons before, right?
I have, but just promoting stuff and kind of getting in the back door and going onto a panel and then leaving. I would love to put some sort of mask on and go out and check it all out.
You were in one of the biggest movies ever last year, Transformers: Age of Extinction. Are you signed on for a ton more of these? Are you excited to get back into that franchise?
I haven’t… you know, we don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean, [Michael] Bay and I are both off doing other things right now, and I guess we’ll get together when he gets back and talk about it and see what he wants to do, and what I want to do, and kind of figure it out from there.
When I was in school, Fear came out and all of a sudden every girl I knew was mentally comparing every guy to your character…
Unfavorably by the way. We were not living up to your standards.
Well, he wasn’t a nice guy. They should be looking for the good guy. It’s funny because as we were doing all the press today I was talking to these two guys that are our cameramen, and they were talking about all the various movies I was in, and I said the movie they should see was Fear and they’d never heard of it. But they’re kind of like in their 30s.
Fear holds up really well. Every girl I knew obsessed over the roller coaster scene.
Yeah, that was pretty cool.
Can you tell me about filming that? It seems like an iconic moment to an entire generation.
Yes. That was one of those iconic moments for our generation.
Fair enough. One of my favorite films of yours is The Big Hit. That seems like such an unusual film. Do you have any particular memories about that?
Yeah, that was the first time… I mean, other than Boogie Nights, there was a little bit in The Basketball Diaries and Fear, but it really had a lot of comedic elements to the movie. And it was just fun doing something action, and a little bit lighter after Boogie Nights.
I knew Boogie Nights was going to be one of those things where people were going to look at me as a dramatic actor, but I had to kind of make sure that I wasn’t just locked into that box. I wanted to be able to do as many different things as possible.
I know you’d acted before, but your first big movie was Renaissance Man. It had a great ensemble cast. What was your first experience on that?
That was where I felt like I found my calling. I had other opportunities to be in movies but it just wasn’t what I wanted to do. There was never a movie that would have given me an opportunity to have a real career. So then when I met Penny [Marshall], obviously I’d been a huge fan of hers growing up and watching Laverne & Shirley, and she convinced me that this is what I should be doing.
Do you miss the music at all, or was it a clean break?
No, no, no. I don’t miss it at all. I mean, every once in a while the wild teenager in me misses the freedom of showing up late or doing what you want, you know, breaking all the rules. But I know I need to be as disciplined as possible being a parent and husband and running my own business.