Mark Wahlberg has said that starring in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 ensemble drama movie Boogie Nights was “the moment he became a real actor.” We regret to inform you that Boogie Nights is 25 years old this year, whereas the events depicted in the movie are from twenty years before that – in 1977.
Speaking to Jake’s Takes, Wahlberg said of his experience working on Boogie Nights; “I was no longer scared to try stuff, to look ridiculous, to be vulnerable – to just being fearless. I was like, no pun intended ‘I’ve gotta go for it and let it all hang out’ and I knew that I was in an environment where I was safe. I really stopped caring about what other people thought and I really wanted to become a real actor and that was the moment.”
He continues; “It’s funny because with Paul Thomas Anderson and myself and the rest of that amazing cast, we were really kind of left on our own. It wasn’t studios standing over us controlling what what we were doing. Paul was really doing his thing and we were all there to service his vision. It was such a liberating experience.”
After an early ’90s music career as Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, Wahlberg broke into movie acting roles. He also shouts out director Penny Marshall in the interview, who cast him in Renaissance Man in 1994. Wahlberg would then go onto appear in The Basketball Diaries with Leonardo DiCaprio in 1995, but Boogie Nights was his first starring role.
Wahlberg has also starred in Three Kings, The Perfect Storm, The Departed, and The Fighter. More recently, he has starred in movies based on a true story – Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. He is currently promoting Uncharted, in which as he stars as Sully to Tom Holland’s Nathan Drake.
Paul Thomas Anderson is an Oscar hopeful this year with another ’70s set film – Licorice Pizza. He was just nominated for Best Director at the BAFTAs and star Alana Haim was nominated for Best Actress. Pizza is the third time Anderson has visited the 1970s, after Boogie Nights and Inherent Vice starring Joaquin Phoenix.
Find out whether Boogie Nights made our list of best ’90s movies.