News popped up last spring that Mark Wahlberg was planning to make a dramatic movie with tween pop sensation Justin Bieber. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, because why would Mark Wahlberg, an actor who spent years trying to shrug off his own reputation as a music industry pop act, want to dive back into that can of worms by appearing in something alongside the current flavor of the week? He must have his reasons, however, because MTV recently asked the actor/producer a few questions about the project, and it sounds like it’s still on.
Said to be similar to a combination of The Color of Money and The Karate Kid, Marky Mark and the Biebs’ basketball drama will star Bieber as a troubled young street ball player, and Wahlberg as the grizzled old man who reluctantly becomes his mentor. Why on Earth would anyone cast a fresh faced pretty boy with swoopy hair like Bieber as a “street” anything? “Intuition,” claims Wahlberg, “I’m pretty intuitive.”
He went on the describe the mythic dramatic chops that lie within Bieber by saying, “I see the guy and spent time with him, and you see what he does and how he does it, and then you actually have a conversation with him, and it’s there.” Accepting the fact that Wahlberg’s famed intuition is enough to see “it” in Bieber, I guess the next question you have to ask yourself is… what exactly “it” is? Most likely, I would say it’s the ability to generate big dollars at the box office. You can talk all you want about Bieber’s capabilities and what he would be able to pull off dramatically, but it’s just intrinsically clear that if you’re going to make a movie about a kid on the streets there are probably about a million other young men out there that would be better suited for the role than Bieber. The only reason I can think of to be planning this role for Justin Bieber instead of somebody like a John Boyega is the pop star’s huge marketability. Come on Wahlberg, it’s okay to admit that you’re looking for a pay day, really it is.
Before ending the interview, Wahlberg gave one more steadfast committal to how much he believes in Bieber’s abilities. “It’s there,” he reiterated, “and if not, I will extract it.” Gross. I hope Bieber knows what he’s getting into. Maybe something a little lighter would be a better choice for his first starring role. Something that doesn’t bring to mind images of Mark Wahlberg spraying you with a fire hose and screaming in your face like a drill sergeant.