WAHLBERG, MARK: PLANET OF THE APES
HEíS WILD ABOUT HAIRY ARI
Mark Wahlberg admits he fantasized about lovemaking with a hairy
Helena Bonham Carter as Ari the ape, on the set of Planet of the
Apes. Jenny Cooney Carrillo reports.
This is a huge film that comes with great expectations.
Can you talk about the meaning of this film?
Well, I really need to see this film again. This was the first
time I have ever watched a film that I was a part of and felt so
disconnected from it while watching it. Usually by the first two
minutes into a film I am picking it apart, criticizing what I
should have done, or what I would do differently if I could go
back. But with this film I was literally just sucked in. Thereís
so much to offer and so much going beneath the surface, I really
need to see it again. I would love to watch it again with Tim
sitting next to me and a remote control in my hands so that I
could pause or rewind certain things. But the first time I saw
it, I was in awe.
On screen you and Helena Bonham Carter, who plays an ape,
have a certain chemistry. How did you feel about that
Well, Iíve always said, she has a lot of the
qualities I look for in a woman, aside from the facial hair (laughing).
You know, I was willing to go anywhere with the part. I told Tim,
when he explained the relationship to me, this was going to be
difficult for me to believe, let alone convince an audience. But
with Helena Bonham Carter being cast in the role, and what she
brought to the part, and Rick Bakerís make up, she kind of
looks like Janet Jackson. I donít want Janet to get upset; I
like Janet Jackson. But she was just phenomenal in the part. I
mean, I was very attracted to her. So were a lot of other guys on
the set, actually. I remember Kris Kristofferson came up to me
one day and tapped me on the shoulder and said ďDonít
think Iím crazy, but would you do it with her?Ē And I
said ďOf course I would!Ē He started laughing because
he thought he was the only one who was fantasizing about her. In
this film we donít go far, but the potential is there, you
know, to take it farther in the next film.
What is your commitment to the role? Are you going to
return in a sequel? And what was it like to meet Charleton
Heston, the originator of the role?
I am not under contract for any more movies, but I am certainly
willing to do it if Tim is doing it. I would love to work with
Tim again either on a sequel to this or something else. As for Mr.
Heston, I did meet him the day he was shooting. It was one of my
few days off but I went down to the set to witness the truly
historic moment. I heard the voice before I saw him, and he was
in full make-up. He came up and we started to talk, I introduced
myself, and he paid me some really nice compliments that I didnít
believe, but I took them anyway. And, um, he ripped off half his
nose appliance because he had been in full make-up all day which
is really uncomfortable, from what Iíve heard. But we just
spoke for a short while, and it was really nice for me. Iíll
be interested to hear what he thinks.
This film is a re-make of a classic, as is your next
project, The Truth About Charlie which originally starred Cary
Grant. How do you feel about taking over these roles that were
originated by such legendary actors?
Well, if it had nor been Tim Burton directing this and Jonathan
Demming doing The Truth About Charlie, I would never have thought
about doing it. I am very much driven by filmmakers and guys that
Iíve admired for a long time. I am trying to learn as much
as I can, so I find working with guys of their caliber, I will do
pretty much anything. I had asked them if they were really sure,
because I had seen both films after taking on the roles and
before we started production, and I just wanted to make sure they
really wanted me for these roles, since Charleton Heston and Cary
Grant both have very different styles of acting from me. In both
cases I never really saw myself as totally right, but Tim and
Jonathan certainly did, and I think they know a few things, I
certainly trust their judgments, and I knew with each of them I
would have a wonderful experience, and at the same time, learn a
How do you choose your roles, then? What are your
It really depends on the filmmaker. I have always talked about,
you know, really wanting something completely different from the
last or anything Iíve done up until that point. But I would
re-visit certain things to work with the right filmmaker. I would
play small parts. I would put the make-up on to work with Tim
Burton, You know, itís the filmmaker first and the material
second, part third and supporting cast fourth. And you know
people say you canít make a great movie without a great
script. I think you can make a great movie with a great director,
and I would be willing to sacrifice my own wants and desires in
order to work with a major filmmaker.
If you were to play one of the apes, would you have the
patience to go through the make-up every day?
That was something I was concerned about. When I met Tim we didnít
talk about a specific role. I just expressed my interest in and
willingness to do whatever he wanted me to do. If that would have
been playing an ape I would have done it. If that meant wearing a
loincloth I would have done it. Tim fortunately didnít want
to see me in a loincloth.
Actually you were pretty adamant about not wanting to
wear the loincloth, correct?
You know, I am not comfortable wearing the loincloth. Barefoot
with a loincloth, I mean, you know people say they want to see me
in that, and Iím like I would love to see Estellaís
chest all the time too, but itís not fair. Why canít
people understand that I just prefer to be clothed? I mean, youíre
running around being tackled by gorillas, itís not going to
be very comfortable. And it was not about getting away from the
whole underwear thing, as people have said, itís just not
very comfortable. I prefer to be clothed like most people.
So how has your fame affected you?
I would rather do without it but I can deal with it. I mean, I
think itís a little easier for me than most people.
Everybody already knows my business and Iíve been through
it, Iím just doing my own thing. So itís okay. I just
have a hard time reading about my personal life in the newspapers.
But itís part of the gig. There are advantages and
disadvantages. You get free clothes, you get into a club for
free, but with me once I get in there is usually someone who
wants to start a fight. Everyone knows who I am but I donít
know anybody, or what anybody it capable of. You kind of feel
like youíre in a little box and everyoneís peeking and
poking at you.
What do you feel about monkeys, after working on this
film? Do you believe they have a soul?
Well, I think that yes, they do. I think they are a couple of
genes off from being able to talk and be very much like us. I
spent a lot of time with a couple of chimps and theyíre
really, really strange. Itís scary how close they are to
being human and how smart they are an how much they really know.
I had an opportunity to be alone with them as well as with the
trainers. And when theyíre alone theyíre different. I
mean, theyíre smart. They know what they want and how to get
it. And itís weird. Then, in terms of the rest of it, I am
religious and have to listen to the Bible, so you know, you never
really knowÖI know that probably sounds kind of cold, but
thatís just how I feel about it.
In real life you recently broke up with your girlfriend.
What did you learn from that and how does it feel to be back in
he dating game?
Well, you know, the places I am going to right now because of
work, thereís probably a good chance I am not going to find,
you know, the marrying type. Itís unfortunate that because
of work and stuff I donít have the luxury of going to
places, aside from church, where you find the kind of woman Iím
looking for. The last relationship was not the right one for me,
so now, maybe when I take some time off, Iíll find Mrs.
Right. What will make her the one is a lot of things, but mostly
her intelligence, her convictions, her willingness to stand up
for what she believes in. Sheís pretty solid.
Published August 9, 2001
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