Mark Wahlberg in Broken City
How does your supercop Billy Taggart in Broken City stack up against the cops you’ve played in The Departed and We Own The Night?
My character (Dignam) in The Departed had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. This character (Billy in Broken City) is faced with completely different choices and challenges and I found it really interesting. I understand what he does at the beginning of the movie and why he does it. But one still wants to do the right thing... for the system. Now, to do the right thing, he has to face this issue of bringing down the mayor (played by Russell Crowe). This, in turn, will help a lot of less-fortunate people. And even though he has to risk losing his freedom, he will do it. I just love that about him, it’s one of those things that reminded me of (Roman Polanski’s) Chinatown, which I saw with my dad. Here is a great character; here is a great story; and here is an interesting twist.
Billy loves his job and does very well until he goes too far while investigating a murder. Now a private detective, barely making ends meet, gets a call from the mayor offering him an opportunity to regain his badge and gun. I start to investigate; I learn that there is much more to this case than a cheating spouse (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and that’s when the war between the mayor and Billy ignites. It is this war that leads Billy to redemption.
You reportedly had a blast on the sets with Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones...
Russell and Catherine are great co-stars to work with. Russell had monologue after monologue and he just showed up without any rehearsal. He had studied the character so well that he gave a flawless performance in the first take itself. He’s a consummate pro who just came in and nailed it. Catherine was immaculate too given that she has just bounced back from illness (bipolar disorder).
Why did you choose Allen Hughes, who hasn’t directed a film (solo) before, for Broken City?
He’s really talented and we get along really well. We put together a great cast and a great team and it’s been fun. It was a Blacklist (a list of scripts for filmmakers, started in 2005) script.
How challenging was it to balance the dual roles of producer and actor?
Well, I’m a hands-on guy anyway. My philosophy is to surround myself with talented people, both in front of and behind the camera. You just got to approach everything with a positive attitude. Where there’s a will there’s a way... you can figure things out.
Your kids are reportedly very excited about you being a part of the new Transformers film...
Yes, the kids (Michael, Ella, Grace and Brendan) are elated. I’m really excited about Transformers myself. Michael Bay (director) and I just did Pain and Gain and we had such a good time making it. We kind of complemented each other throughout the process. I was like, ‘Dude we gotta work together again,’ and he was like, ‘Well I got a project, you interested? I’m kind of making a whole different reboot on Transformers.’ This is the most important role of my career and I think I can do something really special.
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