Mid-week in downtown Sydney, Mark Wahlberg arrives to a flurry of flashbulbs and screams from adoring fans. Meanwhile I am overly hot – journalist at the ready in my suit on my media patch ready for an interview. Security bustle because the guest of honour is early. Anyway all is well, the black carpet flowed well before an exclusive 15 minute footage screening from Transformers: Age of Extinction. Wearing a white t-shirt, long sleeve underneath, it looked like his uniform from Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes. Water bottle in back pocket of jeans, Mark was all cool charisma. He warmed up to me after the first few questions.
SAB – G’day Mark, Shane here, a pleasure to meet you.
Mark Wahlberg – How are you mate.
SAB – You look like you have come straight from a Planet of the Apes sequel; not a Transformers sequel. But you look good.
MW – Thank you sir, it’s casual.
SAB – How hard did (director) Michael Bay have to convince you to be in a Transformers movie?
MW – Not hard at all. We had a great time working on Pain & Gain, he told me all about it, told me what the story was and I said, absolutely.
SAB – What is different about this new Transformers adventure?
MW – New characters, new enemies and higher stakes.
SAB – Were the stunts much of your own work or doubles? You have done The Big Hit, which I liked and Planet of the Apes, both full of stunt work you did yourself. Was this similar to those stunts or much harder?
MW – It’s always harder when you’re older you know. Michael is also a little bit more demanding, so you have to get in there and try and make it as real as possible. It was pretty hairy stuff.
SAB – Did you use your personal emotions of your own family to use in your character when doing anything to save your daughter in the film?
MW – Yes I can certainly identify with that having two little girls myself. I can relate to A – she has this boyfriend I don’t know about and B – if any one of my children are in danger, I can relate to the character absolutely.
SAB – You’re very dedicated to your fitness when preparing for a role. Can you take me through the process of what it was like getting ready for Age of Extinction?
MW – Be prepared to get thrown around for 15-16 hours a day for close to six months. You know this one was not really about being in good shape for the eye as opposed to going out there and performing every day.
SAB – What can audiences expect when Age of Extinction is released in cinemas?
MW – Expect something bigger and crazier than anything they have ever seen, not only from Transformers but from ANY movie EVER.
SAB – Your role in The Lovely Bones was powerful. Do you prefer to do drama or comedy having excelled in both forms?
MW – I prefer to do the complete opposite of the last thing I just did. So I like switching it up.
SAB – Hard Times, with Charles Bronson, was one of the first movies I remember as a kid, it was re-titled Streetfighter in Australia. You also saw it young and it meant something to you.
MW – Oh really you know it too, awesome movie. I saw it and it was one of the reasons I’m here doing this, a craft I love, here today.
SAB – Can you tell me what TED and John Bennett are up to in the upcoming sequel, TED 2?
MW – Craziness, a lot more craziness. Take it easy Shane, thanks!
Whetting my appetite for the entire film, my opinion on the footage was three things: impressive, cliffhanging, high-tech.
Shane A. Bassett