Feature: Mark Wahlberg talks Shooter

Note: This article was originally published in Technician on March 22, 2007.


Shooting up the screen

Mark Wahlberg has risen through the ranks of Hollywood like few have. Once known as the crotch-grabbing rapper Marky Mark, he went on to become admired for his acting talent, even going as far as to achieve an Oscar nomination for his role in last year's The Departed. The actor can now be seen this weekend in Shooter, an action-packed shoot-em-up meant to pay homage to the action-conspiracy films of the '70s.

"The high-intensity action movies that they've been making lately aren't really the kind of character-driven movies that I love and that I grew up watching in the '70s," Whalberg said. This is kind of a throw-back to that."

The film was adapted from a novel, though other things were instrumental in crafting the character. According to the actor, one of the biggest challenges of the film was its physical demands. He did all his own stunts, as a means of maintaining the audience's suspension of disbelief.

"I knew going in it was going to be tough, but actually making the movie, the stuff was pretty rigorous," Wahlberg said. "And with this, I had no previous sniper training, so we went to sniper school and physically I had to really transform."

In the film, Wahlberg plays Bobby Lee Swagger, an ex-sniper hired to protect the president from assassination. Things take a turn for the worse when he's framed for an attempt, and he becomes a fugitive who must find the real killer and the reason for the setup.

"I don't think it's a glorified soldier role at all. I mean, now knowing what being a sniper entails, it is an extremely difficult job. There's not much glamour involved in it at all," said Wahlberg. "You know, you've got a guy who's all about honor and integrity. It's much more of a Travis Bickle or a Dirty Harry than it is a Terminator-type character."