“The Fighter” star Mark Wahlberg put more than just acting into his workout-king, boxer role for the movie based on real-life fighter Micky Ward. Not only did he have Ward on set every day, Wahlberg moved the famous boxer into his home and endured four years of boxing workouts to get ripped and ready for filming.
“BOXING IS THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT”
While he may have just played the role of a boxer, the 39-year-old Wahlberg was in shape enough to be one. Wahlberg installed a massive boxing gym in his home and trained intensely for four years while watching his diet and limiting his play on the social scene.
“I’m not as good a trainer as I am a student,” Wahlberg said of training for his role as ‘Micky’. “But boxing really is the ultimate workout. I’m moving, I’m alert. Afterward I feel amazing.”
“THE FIGHTER” ACTOR MARK WAHLBERG VIES FOR GOLDEN GLOBES’ “BEST ACTOR”
What wasn’t amazing was when Wahlberg’s “crown-jewel film project” kept getting side-swiped by changing production companies and lead actors (Editor’s Note: Brad Pitt bailed on the part of Dickey Ecklund, played by Christian Bale). Wahlberg, who originally joined the production team in early 2005, wasn’t even sure the film would go through in summer 2008.
Five years later, the “The Fighter” championed with six Golden Globe nominations and four SAG awards, among others. For Wahlberg, he’s a favorite in the “Best Actor” category and has a beefed-up bod that’s 30 pounds lighter than his fuller frame. While he says he won’t stay that way and is enjoying a more lax workout lifestyle, he was more than willing to do what it took to make his character believable.
INSIDE THE RING: WAHLBERG REFUSES BOXING STUNT DOUBLE
“I didn’t want to look like an actor who could box a bit,” he said. “I wanted to look like a boxer who could win the world welterweight title.”
He refused stunt doubles and took straight-on punches to the face to reenact the fight scenes. In May 2008, Wahlberg realized that he had to “stop wasting time at night” if he was going to have anything above a “subpar career” and began waking up at 6 a.m. every morning and hitting the gym.
“FIGHTER” WORKOUTS LASTED THREE HOURS, STARTED AT 4:30 AM
“I would leave three hours early for work and go to the gym and spend three hours there. I would bring the trainers with me on the every movie that I did,” he says, speaking of his training for ‘The Fighter’ even while on-set for other films. “There were certainly times where I would wake up at 4:30 in the morning, you know, my trainer would ring the bell, and, ‘Oh God,’ I’m like, ‘I better get this movie made.'”
MARK WAHLBERG LEARNED BOXING FROM THE PROS
Professional boxing prep came from all-star greats like Freddie Roach, to simulate Ward’s real-time boxing style and Manny Pacquiao. He said he “wanted to look like a Manny Pacquiao-caliber fighter” and “didn’t want to look like another actor who’s doing an okay job.”
“THE FIGHTER”: SIX GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS
All in all, the film scored more than just “okay” reviews and film critics loved it. In addition to Mark’s Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, “The Fighter” is up for Best Picture (Drama), Best Supporting Actress for Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, Best Supporting Actor for Christian Bale and a nomination for Best Director for David O. Russell.
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