Mark Wahlberg’s ahead of the game

We bet those muscles served Mark Wahlberg well on the set of his latest, “Broken City.”

Need a movie made on a shoestring? Mark Wahlberg might be your man.

The former bad boy rapper turned Oscar-nominated actor and now film and TV producer shared his recipe for making films: “You’ve gotta come in with that television mentality. You’ve got a lot less money and a lot less time, but you’ve got a great piece of material,” he says.

The next ingredient is attracting top talent — like Russell Crowe, Wahlberg’s co-star in his latest film, “Broken City” — by serving them juicy roles and offering them a share of the profits.

In the crime thriller genre — where Wahlberg has carved his niche — at a time when Hollywood studios are reticent to take risks, it’s the only way to stay ahead of the curve, he says.

In fact, he’s baffled by massive movie budgets. “I was just in New Mexico shooting this movie in 38 days, and before us ‘The Lone Ranger’ was there,” he recalls. “It’s about two guys on horses and it cost $250 million to make. What the f– were these horses doing? Do they fly? I don’t know. It’s crazy.”

By contrast, “Broken City,” in theaters Friday, cost around $55 million to make. In it, Wahlberg plays an ex-NYPD officer haunted by his past deadly vigilantism. Now as a private detective, he’s been hired by New York’s mayor (Crowe) to track the infidelities of the politician’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones).  

The murky lawman is a role Wahlberg has come to love. “I can certainly appreciate and relate to these guys. The bad guy who is trying to do something good is usually the one I root for,” he says. 

And out of all those shadowy do-gooders, which is his favorite?

He grins.

“Dignam. ‘The Depar-ted’ was the most fun, because I’m from that world. I’ve spent a lot of time with those cops and I just got to f–ing steamroll everybody.”

Work ethic

Wahlberg’s working-class roots are no secret. As the youngest of nine children, he’s built a multimillion dollar empire out of virtually nothing — and a near-irrational fear of losing everything keeps him going. “I always feel like there’s a good chance I’ll end up back there,” he says. “I keep that as a possibility and that keeps me focused and working hard. I don’t want to let my guard down or feel too comfortable and start being complacent — then you start feeling entitled and everything else. I’m ready to go dig a ditch if I have to, whatever I have to do to provide for my family.”


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