“Rock Star”: Mark Wahlberg Interview

Nearly everyone dreams of being a rock star. Just put a guitar in any young man’s hand and watch his head spin with visions of the fast cars, hot chicks and mad cash that will surely be coming his way.

But not Mark Wahlberg.

The star of the aptly named Rock Star, which opens on Friday, never once wanted to be one.

“I had no interest in it at all. That’s why I was so excited to play the part, to see if I could pull it off, ” he said.

Fortunately for Wahlberg, he hung out with enough rock gods during his ‘Marky Mark’ days, among them Motley Crue’s lead singer Vince Neil, to know the drill. Nonetheless, when it came time to prepare for the role of Chris Cole, the office supply salesman (and part-time singer in a Steel Dragon cover band) who by a twist of fate becomes the leader singer for the real Steel Dragon, Wahlberg immersed himself in rock god culture.

“I just took a crash course. I went and hung out with all of these guys,” he says. ” I was researching the part pretty early on, actually in the middle of shooting Perfect Storm. I just went to as many concerts as I could and hung out with these guys.”

And what a life it is, the rock star way. It’s very different from being a movie star, at least from Wahlberg‘s perspective.

“It’s the complete opposite,” he says. “You know, rock stars get away with murder, just about, doing whatever they want. Actors are so busy lying and trying to portray some image, the littlest thing [they do] becomes such a big deal.”

Musicians, Wahlberg says, are more open and truthful than actors in real life. “It’s expected, so they push it to the limit.”

So what does that say about a former rapper, turned underwear model, turned actor, who plays a rock god?

He’s definitely acting.
To look the part, the Hollywood hunk let his hair grow for about a year and a half, and with the help of some extensions, really looks the part. But “it was very uncomfortable,” he says of the long mane, which he’s since lost.

He’s definitely singing. He thinks.

Well, some of it. Which parts, not even Wahlberg knows.

“I’d have to listen [to the singing in the movie] closely. I studied with the vocal coach for six months, but we also had somebody else who sang the songs. But whenever we performed, we performed live, so–I’d have to pay attention to [the songs]. If I could hit them all [the notes], it would only be my voice.”

He’s still tight with the ‘Funky Bunch.’ And there’s a rap scene in “Rock Star.”

One of the Steel Dragon songs sounds kind of like a rap, see? And as Wahlberg tells us, “[the film was set in] the late ’80s, actually coming up on the ’90s–and rap was pretty big at that time. You know, Aerosmith had done their thing with Run DMC. This is a song that they actually tried to push me into recording for the soundtrack, doing a video of it. That whole corny thing.”

But recording again, either with or without the ‘Bunch,’ isn’t really “in the cards.”

“For me to go and make a record and be on MTV with the Backstreet Boys–it just doesn’t seem like it makes any sense to me. It seems like a lifetime ago. Not that I have anything against that. It’s better than a lot of other stuff that kids are listening to.”

And as for the underwear…

Well, he’s still wearing them.

“When I could get them on underneath the pants I would definitely,” he revealed. “Leather is a bit uncomfortable.”

No word on the brand.

Rock Star, directed by Steve Herek, stars Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Timothy Olyphant, Jason Flemyng, Timothy Spall and Dominic West. The movie opens Friday, Sept. 7.

Hollywood.com staff writers Ellen Kim and Erika Gimenes contributed to this report.