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Website last update September 11, 2001 at 6:00pm PST
Monday September 10 3:40 AM ET - Yahoo News (Variety)
Fox wraps ``Apes'' DVD in Christmas ribbons By Scott Hettrick

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Fox is planning to release Tim Burton's DVD version of ``The Planet of the Apes'' two days before Christmas.

Anticipating a major hit before release, Fox had already planned to produce more than 13 hours of value-added material on the double-disc DVD of ``Apes'' priced at $29.98, including 28 bonus programs. Fox is mounting a $10 million TV, radio and online ad campaign for the video.

Among the extra features on the DVD, most of which were shot during the filming of the movie, are nine behind-the-scenes/multi-angle features. There is also a feature during the movie itself, also used on the DVDs for ``The Matrix'' and ``The World Is Not Enough,'' which allows viewers to leave the movie at various points to see a behind-the-scenes featurette on the production of that particular scene. The enhanced viewing feature also lets viewers search cast and crew biographies or view the special effects.

Monday September 10 3:39 AM ET - Yahoo News (Variety)
UPDATE 1-Flashy ``Musketeer'' skewers ``Rock Star'' By Carl DiOrio

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - ``The Musketeer,'' Universal's latest take on the classic swashbuckling tale, lanced $10.7 million in estimated box office receipts to capture the first post-summer weekend, as the studio successfully hyped stunt sequences by a martial-arts master in the trailer and TV spots.

Sony Screen Gems' urban-skewing romantic laffer ``Two Can Play That Game'' opened at No. 2 with a surprising $8.3 million from only 1,297 engagements. But Warners Bros./Bel Air's Mark Walhlberg vehicle ``Rock Star'' seemed beset by stage fright, bowing at No. 3 with only $6.2 million, despite saturation-level releasing.

Meanwhile, New Line's action comedy ``Rush Hour 2'' became the studio's biggest domestic success ever, driving to $206.1 million with another $5.9 million in its sixth weekend. That outpaced the $205.4 million domestic performance for the studio's 1999 laffer ``Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.''

Artisan bowed suspenser ``Soul Survivors'' with a barely wide 601 playdates in the top 13 domestic markets and scared up $1.1 million.

Industrywide, the box office was up 19% from a year ago with an estimated $73.5 million in total domestic grosses this weekend, according to data from tracking firm ACNielsen EDI. Last year, Universal's suspenser ``The Watcher'' topped openers in the same frame with $9.1 million.

The latest weekend represented 2001's softest session so far. But through that frame, '01 is up 9% over the same period of 2000 with almost $5.7 billion in total ticket sales, the increase due largely to higher ticket prices.

``While overall business was weak this weekend, it always is this time of year,'' EDI president Tom Borys noted.

Universal's campaign for ``Musketeer'' emphasized clips of sword-fighting scenes, in which thesps occasionally swayed on stunt wires of the sort used to such good effect in last year's Sony Classics smash ``Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.''

``The picture definitely has a different look to it,'' Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco observed.

``Musketeer'' skewed to moviegoers older than 25. But Universal cited the importance of broadening on that core audience by playing the trailer extensively for patrons of ``American Pie 2,'' a big Universal hit with younger audiences.

The second-week hold will bear watching, as reviews for ``Musketeer'' have been mostly negative. Universal paid $3.7 million for North American rights to the Moshe Diamant-produced picture and will split domestic and U.K. grosses 50-50 with U.K.-rights holder Miramax.

``It's certainly going to make a little money for us,'' Rocco said.

``Two Can Play That Game,'' an R-rated date picture, carries a slim $6 million negative cost. It played best with African-American young adults.

``It's a very funny picture, and we hope that in the fall it can last long enough to be found by other audiences,'' Sony marketing and distribution president Jeff Blake said.

Warners is getting a distribution fee only on ``Rock Star,'' whose wimpy opening comes from a failure to connect well with any particular demo.

``Star'' shone brightest with 18-to-35 moviergoers and played best in college markets. It skewed 55% female.

United Artists/American Zoetrope's horror pic ``Jeepers Creepers'' sneaked up on another $6.2 million despite a big 53% drop-off in its sophomore session. The modestly budgeted picture has spooked $24.3 million to date.

Paramount Classics marked a righteous limited bow for the foreign-language drama ``Our Lady of the Assassins.'' The Barbet Schroeder-helmed saga grossed an estimated $55,044 from four Gotham and L.A. theaters for a killer $13,761 per venue.

Sunday September 09 09:18 PM EDT - Yahoo News (HR)
Swordplay wins weekend at boxoffice By Brian Fuson

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) --- The sizzling pace of late summer has carried over into early fall at the North American boxoffice as new wide releases took the top three spots during the weekend and combined with holdovers to generate what could be a record post-Labor Day frame.

Universal's "The Musketeer" took center stage as the swashbuckler debuted with an estimated $10.7 million. The Peter Hyams-helmed picture is a fresh take on the Alexandre Dumas classic, blending period swordplay with Hong Kong-style action choreography.

Rolling into the second spot was Sony's "Two Can Play That Game." The Mark Brown-helmed romantic comedy opened strongly with an estimated $8.3 million from 1,297 theaters, translating to a per-theater average of $6,399 -- highest among this weekend's Golden Dozen.

It was a close race for the third spot as, according to estimates, a slim $10,000 made the difference between two contenders. Although it came out slightly ahead to claim the show position, Warner Bros.' "Rock Star" hit a sour note at the boxoffice on its debut as the Mark Wahlberg-Jennifer Aniston starrer rocked a modest $6.18 million. Helmed by Stephen Herek, the comedy-drama about an everyman musician whose dreams come true when he hits the big time played best in college markets and among the 18-35 age group, while 55% of the audience was female.

The previous weekend's boxoffice champ, MGM's "Jeepers Creepers," arrived in the fourth slot during its sophomore outing with an estimated $6.17 million, down 53% from the first three days of the four-day Labor Day frame. The scarefest has collected an estimated $24.3 million after 10 days.

But the weekend's best news was that the market performed solidly compared with previous post-Labor Day frames and could well score a record take. The estimated total for this weekend's Golden Dozen rose an impressive 39% from the total for the top 12 films during the comparable 2000 frame.

The highest-grossing post-Labor Day weekend to date occurred in 1999, when MGM's "Stigmata" debuted with $18.3 million and the total for all films reached $76 million. The Hollywood Reporter projects the total for all films this weekend in the mid- to high-$70 million range.

Other highlights include New Line's "Rush Hour 2" crossing the $200 million mark Thursday night. Following the weekend, total boxoffice for the action-comedy stands at an estimated $206.1 million, a company high. The cume surpasses another successful sequel for the distributor, "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," which grossed $205.8 million domestically.

Universal was thrilled with the opening of "Musketeer," which the distributor acquired with Miramax in a partnership, splitting the cost and boxoffice grosses from North America and the United Kingdom 50-50. The adventure film was picked up for a relatively modest $7.5 million.

"We capitalized on the fact that we had a fabulous trailer that played most of the summer with 'American Pie 2,' " Universal Pictures president of distribution Nikki Rocco said. Universal had a film in the top spot during the comparable weekend last year with another modestly acquired film, "The Watcher."

"It's a good date to put something in the market," Rocco said. "It's much less competitive than summer and has proved to be successful for us." Males composed 56% of "Musketeer's" audience, and 57% of patrons were younger than 25 for the PG-13 rated film.

Likewise, Sony was pleased with the performance of "Game," which carried a negative cost of $6 million and appears to be profitable for the distributor. The romantic comedy drew primarily young black adult couples, which composed more than 75% of the audience. "It's a fun battle-of-the-sexes comedy that we hope will broaden out," Columbia Pictures president of worldwide marketing and distribution Jeff Blake said.

Warner Bros. was disappointed with the debut of "Star," produced by Bel Air Entertainment, but remains hopeful that it will generate positive word-of-mouth and stay in theaters a while. "I was certainly hoping for more; however, the exits were strong and very supportive of Mark Wahlberg's performance," Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Dan Fellman said.

In the limited-release arena, Paramount Classics' "Our Lady of the Assassins" generated an estimated $55,044 from a slim four venues, averaging a promising $13,761 per theater. The Spanish-language film, helmed by Barbet Schroeder, was met with predominantly favorable reviews and will roll out slowly, the distributor said.

Artisan's "Soul Survivors" did not fare as well as the thriller debuted with an estimated $1.1 million from 601 theaters. The per-theater average for the Steve Carpenter-directed film was a discouraging $1,830.

The estimate for the Golden Dozen is nearly $63 million, topping the total for all films during last year's comparable weekend. "Watcher" was the top film then with $9.1 million, followed by USA Films' "Nurse Betty" with $7.1 million.

During the week ending Sept. 6, national boxoffice rose 14% from the comparable seven-day period a year ago ($139.1 million vs. $121.9 million). The year-to-date total holds a nearly 10% advantage on last year's pace ($5.76 billion vs. $5.24 billion). Year-to-date admissions are holding steady with a 5% improvement on the 2000 pace.

Sunday September 9 10:25 PM ET - Yahoo News (Variety)
Kidman pics reign in Britain, Spain By Don Groves

SYDNEY (Variety) - The foreign box office was neither fast nor furious last weekend, with ``Moulin Rouge'' in the U.K. and ``The Others'' in Spain ranking among the handful of potent premiers.

``The Fast and the Furious'' beat fellow rookie ``Original Sin'' in fairly soft trading in Mexico, while ``A Knight's Tale'' was less than valiant in Germany and Spain.

Entering its first major Euro market accompanied by a well-orchestrated publicity blitz, Nicole Kidman's ``Moulin Rouge'' rang up an estimated $3.2 million in three days, including Thursday previews, in Blighty. Fox said the tuner has racked up an estimated $2 million in Mexico and $1.5 million in Brazil, both through its third stanzas.

The local connections of ``The Others'' -- it was shot in Spain with a Spanish crew -- helped propel another Kidman starrer, helmed by Alejandro Amenabar, to a stellar $1.5 million in two days in that market.

Miramax's horror spoof ``Scary Movie 2'' launched in the U.K. in second spot with a solid $1.2 million in two days.

In its offshore debut, ``The Fast and the Furious'' pocketed roughly $398,000 Friday-Saturday in Mexico, shading ``Original Sin's'' $380,000.

Tim Burton's ``Planet of the Apes'' experienced typical 50% second weekend drops, making an estimated $2.9 million in Germany (where it has scored a nonetheless impressive $9.6 million in 11 days) and $2 million in Spain after its industry record opening (tallying $8.2 million in 10 days).

``A Knight's Tale'' rode into Germany with $1.2 million in three days and Spain with $456,000 in two days -- medieval jousting evidently not holding much appeal to local sensibilities. The Heath Ledger starrer is a much stronger draw in the U.K., coining $915,000 in its second turn (Friday-Saturday).

``Bridget Jones's Diary'' fetched $245,000 in three days in Hong Kong. The romantic comedy eased by a trifling 5% in its third round in Germany, retaining pole position, boosting the total through Saturday to about $8.1 million.

``Jurassic Park III'' skidded by 46% after a good but not great debut in Oz, bringing in about $1 million in its second weekend, elevating the territory total to $3.4 million.

``Shrek'' captivated Sweden to the tune of $247,000 in two days and Denmark with $232,000 in two days -- eclipsing the launches of ``Chicken Run'' and ``The Prince of Egypt'' in both territories.

Sunday September 9 4:26 PM ET - Yahoo News (AP)
'The Musketeer' Tops the Box Office By ANDREW BRIDGES, Associated Press Writer 

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Fight made right for ``The Musketeer,'' which parlayed its mix of traditional swashbuckling and Hong Kong action choreography into the top spot among the nation's movies. 

The revisionist take on the Alexandre Dumas classic, ``The Three Musketeers'' took in $10.7 million on the first weekend of the fall film season, according to studio estimates Sunday. 

``Two Can Play that Game'' opened in the No. 2 spot, raking in $8.3 million. The battle-of-the-sexes romantic comedy starring Vivica A. Fox and Morris Chestnut played on about half as many screens as ``Musketeer'' but scored a healthy $6,399 per-screen average. 

The No. 3 movie - the third debut among the top 12 grossing films - was ``Rock Star,'' starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston, with $6.2 million. 

With film audiences shrinking on the first weekend following the Labor Day holiday, previous leader ``Jeepers Creepers'' dropped to No. 4 with $6.2 million. But in just two weeks, the horror flick has made $24.3 million, following a record debut for a Labor Day weekend opener. 

``Soul Survivors'' opened at No. 14 among films tracked by Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc., with $1.1 million in just 601 theaters. 

``Our Lady of the Assassins,'' a gritty look at violence-wracked Colombia, opened on four screens in Los Angeles and New York. It pulled in $55,044 for a strong per-screen average of $13,761. 

``We're just very pleased - this movie doesn't have any stars and it's Spanish-language,'' said Eden Rosenfelt of Paramount Classics. 

``Rush Hour 2,'' in the No. 6 spot, crossed the $200 million mark before the weekend to become New Line Cinema's top-grossing domestic release. The martial arts-buddy film starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker bested ``Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,'' to take that honor. 

``You have two incredibly likable characters doing what they do best,'' said New Line spokesman Steve Elzer. 

For the weekend, the top 12 films grossed an estimated $62.6 million - an increase of 38.9 percent over the same weekend last year. 

``That's huge,'' said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations. ``For a lot of people who enjoy summer-style movies, summer's over, but action can still draw people in.'' 

In the case of ``Musketeer,'' starring Justin Chambers, the film's trailer played a big role in its popularity. The trailer - which played up the film's mix of East-meets-West fight scenes - ran before the popular ``America Pie 2,'' which has grossed $131.2 million. ``Pie 2'' was seventh this weekend with $4.7 million. 

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations. Final figures are to be released Monday. 

1. ``The Musketeer,'' $10.7 million. 

2. ``Two Can Play That Game,'' $8.3 million. 

3. ``Rock Star,'' $6.18 million. 

4. ``Jeepers Creepers,'' $6.17 million. 

5. ``The Others,'' $6.1 million. 

6. ``Rush Hour 2,'' $5.9 million 

7. ``American Pie 2,'' $4.7 million. 

8. ``Rat Race,'' $4.4 million. 

9. ``The Princess Diaries,'' $3.4 million. 

10. ``O,'' $2.7 million. 

Sunday September 9 2:39 PM ET - Yahoo News (Reuters)
'Musketeer' Dashes to Box Office Victory By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - ``The Musketeer,'' a martial arts take on the classic Alexandre Dumas tale, rode to the No. 1 spot at the North American box office, while Mark Wahlberg's ''Rock Star'' hit a flat note in its first weekend.

According to studio estimates issued on Sunday, ``The Musketeer'' (Universal) has pulled in $10.7 million since its Friday bow, easily outperforming the two other wide new releases during a traditionally quiet post-holiday weekend.

The No. 2 slot was filled by ``Two Can Play That Came'' (Screen Gems) an urban romantic comedy, which grossed $8.3 million in its first three days.

``Rock Star'' (Warner Bros.) tuned in with a disappointing $6.2 million, level with incumbent champion ``Jeepers Creepers'' (United Artists), and narrowly ahead of the Nicole Kidman thriller ``The Others'' (Dimension) at No. 5 with $6.1 million. Rankings could change when final estimates are issued on Monday, especially as some rival studios ranked ``Rock Star'' at No. 5.

According to tracking firm Exhibitor Relations, the top 12 films grossed about $62.6 million, down 17 percent from the equivalent three-day portion of the previous Labor Day holiday weekend, but up 39 percent from the year-ago period when the Keanu Reeves thriller ``The Watcher'' was tops.

New releases next weekend include the Reeves urban baseball melodrama ``Hardball'' and the thriller ``Glass House.''

``The Musketeer,'' starring Justin Chambers as D'Artagnan, one of the three fabled swordsmen who save the French monarchy, was marketed as a merger of classic chivalry and cutting-edge chopsocky moves. Critics were unimpressed, even though the cast also included acclaimed actors Tim Roth, Stephen Rea and Catherine Deneuve.

Universal Pictures, a unit of Vivendi Universal, teamed up with Walt Disney Co. -owned Miramax Films to buy the North American and U.K. rights for $7.5 million, and they will split the pool evenly. The film cost about $40 million to make, a Universal spokesman said.

``Two Can Play That Game,'' starring Vivica A. Fox as a vindictive girlfriend, attracted a primarily black audience, said a spokesman for Sony Corp (news - web sites)., which released the $6 million film through its Screen Gems unit.

Opening sales for ``Rock Star,'' loosely based on the true story of a salesman who was drafted in to become the new lead singer of metal band Judas Priest, were disappointing, said Warner Bros. distribution president Dan Fellman. However, the film did do well in college towns, and he hoped support from the 18 to 35 age group might give it some extra strength. Warner Bros. is a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc .

``Jeepers Creepers,'' a teen-targeted horror slasher that ruled the box office last weekend, has now made $24.3 million after 10 days. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. paid $2.5 million for North American rights and released it through its United Artists arthouse banner.

``The Others,'' a haunted-house thriller that earned rave notices for Kidman, has pulled in $67.6 million after 31 days.

Elsewhere, sixth-ranked ``Rush Hour 2'' surpassed the $200 million mark to become the highest grossing film in the history of its AOL Time Warner Inc.-owned distributor, New Line Cinema. The Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker comedy earned $5.9 million over the weekend, to take its total to $206.1 million. New Line's previous record was held by 1999's ``Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me'' with $205.8 million.

Among limited releases, director Barbet Schroeder's ``Our Lady of the Assassins,'' which he filmed covertly in Colombia, totaled a strong $55,044 from two theaters each in New York and Los Angeles. The film, released by Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Classics arthouse unit, revolves around a gay man's affairs with young thugs from the Medellin barrio. 

September 8, 2001 - Los Angeles Daily News 
For Wahlberg, it's all part of a rock 'n' roll fantasy  GLENN WHIPP 

Given that he enjoyed a brief chart-topping career 10 years ago as the leader of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, you'd think Mark Wahlberg would be a natural to play the title character of a movie called Rock Star. 

Well, yes and no. The movie's rock star in question is loosely based on the life of Tim "Ripper" Owens, the Judas Priest fan who ended up becoming the heavy-metal band's lead singer. Wahlberg, a devout Catholic, is more familiar with Judas Iscariot than Judas Priest. He likes hip-hop, hates rock 'n' roll and would just as soon go back to modeling Calvin Klein underwear as listen to another Poison record. 

But Walhberg still remembers what it was like to hold sway over thousands of concertgoers. And he cuts a credible figure during the movie's concert scenes, even if he's screeching instead of rapping. 

"He was a large reason why I wanted to do Rock Star," says director Stephen Herek. "There's something really electric, something wild and unexpected about him on-screen. He has this magnetic thing, for almost any girl and even guys. You see the way girls look at him, and it's literally like a rock star, where you could just pick and choose and basically take whatever you want." 

What Wahlberg seems to want most these days is to leave his bad-boy past behind (when he was 16, he spent 45 days in jail for taking out a man's eye with a hook) and concentrate on his ever-burgeoning acting career. Here he talks about the temptations of the rock 'n' roll life, why Lil' Bow Wow is more relevant than Mick Jagger and whether, if he had to do it all over again, he would still play porn star Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights. 

Musicians want to be actors and actors want to be musicians. You've been a star in both arenas. Which is better?

Being a rock star is better, but obviously I didn't fit the bill. So the movie gave me one more crack at it, which was nice. 

You could go back. I'm sure there are record companies that have been asking you to make another album.

I get asked that all the time. "Do you want to rap again?" And I'm like, "No, you've got Lil' Bow Wow." That guy's 13 years old and he's where it's at, you know? 

You don't miss the adrenalin rush? 

It's like drugs. It wears off quick and you want more. And the next thing you know, you're Mick Jagger and you're still out there. And you don't want to see that, you know what I mean? 

Obviously you could relate to this guy in Rock Star facing sudden fame and all the accompanying temptations. 

There are a lot more differences than there are similarities. Our audience was 13-year-old girls; theirs is 40-year-old guys. But yeah, I was irresponsible like a lot of those guys are. For the most part, these guys are just (screwing) off and doing what they want to do and getting away with it. And I was doing the same thing, and it was really bad. I'd never go back to music for that reason -- you're just pushed and pulled in all the wrong directions for all the wrong reasons. The discipline that I have from making movies has really helped me a lot. 

How so? 

I just focus on the work so there isn't time for anything else. I like to have a situation where my whole life is revolving around a project and it's going to last five months and then it's over and then I commit to another project. If I have too much time, I'm distracted. And distractions aren't good. 

How did you throw yourself into Rock Star? 

I started off listening to rock, which was tough, because I hate the music. But I hung out with the bands, went to concerts for Ratt and Poison and Megadeath and Motley Crue. And I watched every tape I could find of those guys performing. After awhile, though, I started to cheat and lighten up on listening to the heavy, heavy stuff because it's just awful. I can't stand it. 

Did you make any other sacrifices for the movie? 

I grew out my hair, and (director) Steve (Herek) suggested I get some hair extensions during rehearsals. That took a lot of getting used to. I'd be constantly swatting it out of my face, sometimes right in the middle of a take. It's like something was on my face, like a bat or something. 

Did you ever talk to Ripper Owens? 

I wanted to, but the producers were worried about legal issues. Judas Priest didn't want their names used. It would have been nice to have talked about how he felt about things, but in the end, it didn't really matter. Just think of it. You are a guy who is obsessed with a band and you spend your whole life trying to be this guy and the next thing you know, you get to fill his shoes. How amazing is that? So figuring out that feeling was easy. 

And what was hard? 

I had to figure out how these heavy-metal singers move. It's different. Think of putting (Motley Crue singer) Vince Neil in a rap band. It doesn't work. And the singing took work. I had a polyp on my vocal cords from screaming over those wind machines while making The Perfect Storm. And there's a lot of screeching in this movie. So I had to do a lot of exercises, stop smoking and take care of my voice. And it worked out. I ended up doing most of the singing. 

Are you happy with the way Planet of the Apes turned out? 

Yeah, I think it works. Some people can't figure out the ending, but if you go back and see the movie again, you're going to feel like, "Whoa, I should have gotten that." You're going to be really embarrassed. It's very simple. But for me to explain it, I might give away things that are to come in the sequel. 

Sequel? Judging from (Apes director) Tim Burton's recent comments, it doesn't sound like he wants anything to do with another movie. But you're on board? 

I'd do the sequel if Tim directed. We'll have to see what happens. 

You've recently talked pretty openly about your spirituality, saying that your Catholic faith keeps you grounded. How do you square that with your acting choices? 

It's tough. I've got nine nieces and nephews to answer to, and at this stage of the game, it would be really tough for me to make a movie like Boogie Nights. Like in Rock Star, there's not too much graphic drug use. I don't know, it's tough because I do care and I'm concerned with how I'm perceived. 

So you wouldn't make Boogie Nights today? 

I really would have to do some thinking. Back then, it was easy for me. I wasn't considering anyone else and I was trying to prove myself as an actor and take some risks. But I can push the envelope without pushing it in that direction. I'll just do more dramatic stuff. It's definitely something to think about. 

Is the remake of Charade you just completed an example of the direction you want to go? 

Yeah, but then my next movie is with (Boogie Nights director) Paul Thomas Anderson. Me and John Reilly and Phil Hoffman will start shooting that in the Valley pretty soon. And I'll be doing something with (Three Kings) director David Russell and James Gray, who I did The Yards with. 

These guys seem to be pretty loyal to you. 

I just think they're real artists. Working with them and why they want to work with me again is my willingness to go anywhere. I trust them. I don't second-guess their choices. I'm there to service their vision and that's it. A lot of actors are too scared to do anything, especially when they've had any sort of success that they don't want to mess with. With me, it's just an opportunity to be in interesting films. I'd rather make five movies like that than 20 movies that are going to make $100 million apiece. 

Last question: Who's easier to work with -- apes or rock stars? 

(Laughs) The chimps are a lot more cooperative and a lot more disciplined. And that's not a knock on the musicians. It's just that the chimps are really smart. 

2001-09-07 -
Interview: Mark Wahlberg 
Submitted by: Phillip Nakov 
BY PHILLIP NAKOV | Mark Wahlberg enters the room smiling and walking softly over to the table. He is well dressed in a smart dark navy suit and crisp white dress shirt and black cap toes dress shoes. I did not expect to see Mark Wahlberg – especially after seeing him in Rock Star with short hair, clean cut and wearing a suit! It was a mild shock but we all recovered quickly… some more quickly than others.

'Hello! How are you everyone? Good to see you! How is everybody? '

He asks as he sits down and before he can even take a look around… the questions begin!

Is there a pattern of innocence in the characters you play?

Um you could say that- it all depends on how you look at it. With this and “Boogie Nights” they are similar in that way. 

The same with 3 Kings no?

That’s true- I have done a lot of films. A bit different. But it is not something that I look for. Maybe the filmmakers that I work for see some innocence in me. I just wish all the other people who think I am such a bad guy see the same thing. 

Where does that come from, that image or that thought people think you are a bad guy on the one side and you are trying to break through and your roles reflect otherwise?

That just comes from my past and people just don’t let things go. 

You think it is sort of the way that your character of the past adds to the mystique of you and they try to keep that alive? 

Well certain people want to keep it alive. I’d choose to let it go. But, people can say things that they want and they are entitled to that. 

When you say that the discipline of being a movie star has given you…

Being an actor… (He interrupts with a smile)

Sorry, being and actor I am so sorry being and actor has changed you and made you a better person as a musician has it encouraged you to act up in any way? 

Well yeah, you have a freedom that for me led to trouble. The discipline of being involved in such a large production, even the smallest one that I have done it takes a lot of people to make a movie the discipline is very helpful to me. 


Uh, in many ways. Obviously not today as I was twenty minutes late for this but twenty minutes is better than not showing up at all instead of canceling like I used to do in the music world. 

But when you were in the music world and you had a music film like this where does the parallel lie where- you weren’t a rock star but you were another star how did it feel? 

Well it was tough, a lot of the guys in the film are real guys in the music world with the hair and actually having to wear it for six months which and being uncomfortable with that which led me to wearing the clothes all the time to match the hair I tried to lie that sort of life without crossing the line. I had to have a couple of people around me to pull me back. It was tough.

What did you learn about it?

All of the stuff that I knew existed. You didn’t see too much of it in the kind of music I was making but it’s there and its still going on there strong. I don’t recommend it at all for someone. 

Which things were the same in the movie and in your own experience? 

These guys party hard. They live that life. You know you have like Zach Wilde and Jason Bonham in the movie and they are not going to take the 8 years of discipline that I developed in the eight years I have been making movies- it’s their first movie and they are more concerned with how they are being portrayed and how I am playing the part and my approach to it and if I was going to be believable as one of those guys.

Why do you think the rock stars are allowed all of these crazy things and movie stars are not allowed? 

People just expect that from guys in the music world and they don’t expect much else… a lot of guys who are movies stars are really hiding who they really are – they have this image and obviously it has helped them get to this position that they are in… and you know so that’s why the media is on them so much more because they are constantly getting busted. For little things… and the guys in the rock and roll band get away with murder. 

Did this script come to you because of your musical background?

No, not at all. 

How did it come to you?

Somebody read it and thought that I may find it interesting because it was different. 

But didn’t George call you up? He is the producer… (George Clooney is one of the producers on this movie) 

(Laughs) No no it is a long story. Brad Pitt was attached to play the part and we read the script and liked it and wanted it and George is a really an ass-kissing producer and Brad Pitt is a movie star so it was like give Brad a couple more cracks at letting him find a director… and when he finally gave up we just jumped on it.

In the film your character has a very supportive family and girlfriend support. Did you have any support group when you decided to do your hip-hop career or did you just go out there alone?

Well, I was kind of on my own but I did have some support. Not the same kind of support. 

You say that you immersed your self in this role, do you normally do that or is just because of because of what it was that you decided to dress the part all the time?

No, I always do but with this and the hair and stuff… usually at the end of the day you can take off the make up when you are shooting a movie- I still stay in character and stuff but with this even to go out to dinner (as he gestures to his hair) I just made the most of it. We were making the movie at a time when a lot of things were going on in the music world, the Grammy’s were going on a tribute to Clive Davis so we went to all these events and caused a bunch of chaos.

So are you saying that the hair (in this movie) was real?

Most of it… I was making the “Perfect Storm” and when I had already signed on to do “Rock Star” and I was either wet or I had a hat on so I was able to kind of grow my hair for about a year and a half.

In the scene where you coming into to the mansion when you arrived in Los Angeles. I saw the look on your face it was a look genuine wonder. You were mystified at everything you were surrounded by you were a fan at that moment. Today, when you go somewhere what are you a fan of? What amazes you today?

Tiger Woods- he is incredible. It really depends. Right now I am just exhausted so I am not really interested in anything but sleeping. There are a lot of different things that amaze me. Watching TV and seeing “Little Bow Wow” he’s to me one of the most talented rappers in the game. Never mind the guys that are 35 years old and are still trying to rap. He’s 13… it’s incredible. It really depends… I’d like to give that question a little more thought. 

Will you go back to music one of these days?

Ah, no I don’t think so… I have been asked a lot recently but no… I have no interest. 

What’s the reason? Just because you don’t want to sing anymore?

I love listening to it- yeah. I just think I am a little old. Listening to “Little Bow Wow” and I am definitely feeling old!

What do you with your musical side? Do you play for your self? 

Yeah I do once in a while. I still mess around.  I still have a lot of friends that are in the musical business. It’s tempting at times. I just don’t think it’s something I should do.

Did you ever take a tumble (on stage while performing) like you did on stage (in the movie)? 

Yeah I did actually I fell off the stage before. They turned the house lights off as I was walking off stage after a performance and I just fell about 10 or 12 feet. But I really did take the fall when we did the concert, as well. We filmed a lot of concert footage. We threw a benefit concert we opened for Great White, Wasp and Mega Death and all these people at the LA Sports Arena and the people didn’t really know who we were or what was going on. So we were just going to perform and I just walked down the stairs and we did the whole concert and I fall down the stairs with a tube of blood in my pocket, and hit it and poured it all over me. Everybody thought it was real. It was pretty funny until we had to go out and repeat the performance. And the people started to get a little upset. And then, after I went out and repeated the same two songs, they tried to put the other guy up Jason Fleming who plays Bobbie and people were very upset. Cause they came to see Mage Death and Wasp and here they get these guys who keep coming out doing the same songs. 

What were your musical influences?

In making this movie? 

Your own and making this movie. 

Well they are totally different. With this movie I started trying to listen to like hard core heavy metal, and it just wasn’t working for me. So I started listening to more classic rock or hard rock like Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and Blue Oyster Cult and bands like that.  I listen to some of the hard stuff. But it’s just gets a little bit repetitive. I still actually listen to Zeppelin. 

Have you followed any of the controversy over the “Planet of the Apes” ending? 

No. Why would I do that? 

Did Michael Clarke Duncan sign a poster for him? On the set?

Did I sign a poster for him? 

Yeah, he once told me he was going to ask you to sign a Marky Mark poster. 

Oh, he did call me once and he said he wanted to have this big meeting with him one day. (Mark imitates Michael’s voice) Ah, I gotta talk to you man. And I was like ok. Seriously so he takes me on this long walk, and sits me down and asks me, So you really don’t like it when people call you Marky Mark? And I asked what? We were in the middle of shooting the end of this big movie and this big scene and he wants to talk about something? So I said, Michael you can call me anything you want. Then he admitted he was a bit of a fan himself which I thought was funny. But the poor guy missed the premiere and everything. He busted his leg. SO I haven’t seen him. He was supposed to go to Europe with us. But he is not coming. 

How can you say you are not a movie star when you are in one of the biggest films of the summer?

I just did an art film with a really artsy director and I signed on for the same reason as everybody to work with Tim (Burton) It just kind of turned into this monster film.  It wasn’t what I intended. It was just a chance to work with a really interesting kind of quirky guy… who makes a move independent movie you know and makes a lot of money. 

Is a sequel going to happen now that we know it is a box office success?

I don’t know… it’s up to Tim… I’d do it if Tim were going to do it. The movies that Tim’s made that have gone on to be taken on by other directors you know where they have ended up… so I don’t know. 

So is your career in action movies also sort of coincidence that you sort of pick the roles that you like and they happen to be a lot of action movies?

Yeah, this is right up my alley- ROCK STAR. It’s something with a lot more edge. A lot darker. But you know when you get the opportunity to work with interesting directors like Wolfgang Peterson or even David Russell is not an action director. He just made this really interesting movie and kind of threw in these really weird action sequences. You know it is just the opportunity to work with the filmmakers. 

How was Kirk Wong? 

Kirk was great! That was a movie that after doing Basketball Diaries and Fear and Boogies Nights and not really knowing what the finish product was going to be like just knowing how far we went. It was important for me to do a movie like that so I wouldn’t be told I couldn’t do anything light …or anything that had a nice guy. It was important to me cause after Basketball Diaries they said yeah he’s great but that’s what he can do. Same thing as Fear. 

So where are your musical tastes today?

Little Bow Wow. Ok, I am actually still listening to rock; I have some Zeppelin in my car some Bob Marley. Really the same stuff. I was in Paris for four months and I didn’t do anything but listen to Charles Aznavour. 

What’s a guilty pleasure? 

It’s all good…. The Kid, The Back Street Boys, Brittany Spears, they are all good. 

So how was it working with Jennifer?

She’s great. We were lucky to have her. She did a great job. She’s not here today. She is working on Friends.

Did she try to get you to go on Friends?


Were you singing in this movie?

Yeah, I worked with a vocal coach for about 6 months. Some of it is me some of it is not. It was tough for me yelling. It was important for me to work with the guy I could have just you know stumbled my way through it and screamed through it but to be able to perform and be able to perform and to shoot a movie like this was tough… you are up there on stage 14 hours a day take after take after take and I had to quit smoking. It was a tough movie. Physically I had to do a lot to prepare. 

What did he teach you to handle 14 hours of singing a day?

Just ridiculous vocal exercises and repetition is the key.  

Any movies that are coming out that you are looking forward to?

I want to go see the new cut of “Apocalypse Now”. I don’t really know what’s coming out. There is nothing I am really looking forward to.

You have a large tattoo on your chest and there are a lot of scenes where you are not wearing a shirt in this film. Did you have a lot of makeup on to cover it up and what is it of?

Yeah, I do, it only takes them about 15-20 minutes. It is a tattoo of rosary beads, a necklace. 

Are you Catholic?


Why the tattoo? That’s dedication. Why go so far?

Not enough time in the day… lots of stuff.

Speaking of family. How is it going on setting your mom up with George (Clooney)? 

Not good. Although she is moving out here. She is going to live with me. I am going to buy a house next month. 

Anything happen in this movie that is a total exaggeration?

Um, no it is all possible except for the furniture nailed to the ceiling- although that has happened before. It’s all happened before. But it’s toned down for this movie. 

Still R rated though do you think your younger fans should wait to see this film?

Yeah. Or at least with their parent and guardian.

Ok, so what was it like driving the Batmobile? 

It was awful. It’s a piece of shit. It was the actual car. It’s an Oldsmobile with that body on it. But it was fun to drive. And I took it off the lot and drove on the streets and stuff with Jason Bonham in the passenger seat screaming his head off…

Does that have anything to do with George’s Batman thing?

No, record companies were always doing stuff like that; it’s a promotional thing. 

It was great to see you all and take care- have a good one.

You too Mark and have a great fall! Thank you so much! 

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