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August 2005
Four Brothers: An Interview with Mark Wahlberg and Tyrese Gibson

Four Brothers: An Interview with Mark Wahlberg and Tyrese Gibson

By Wilson Morales

From "Baby Boy" to "2 Fast 2 Furious", Tyrese Gibson has played the tough guy persona almost to perfection. Credit must go to Director John Singleton for grooming him into the film business. Together the two have a chemistry that makes their film appealing. Mark Walhberg can also present a tough guy image when called for and also bring in a certain type of humor that people want to see. In "Four Brothers", both Tyrese and Mark play foster brothers who come back home to Detroit after their mother was brutally killed in a deli store. Seeking revenge, the two of them, along with two more foster brothers canvass the streets looking for some answers. In speaking to blackfilm.com, both Tyrese and Mark Walhberg talk about their experiences while working on the film.


Were you on this project even before John came aboard?

Mark: Yeah. But, it was like a week or two before.


Was it your idea to have him direct you?

Mark: No. Lorenzo said that he basically had this thing written with me in mind. We were talking about different directors and John's name came up and it was like a no brainer, obviously, perfect for both of us. We've been friends for a long time and talking about doing a movie together and he's worked with Tyrese two other times before that so we brought him to the table and ... perfect match.


You don't see a lot of unabashed vigilante movies these days. Was that why you took it on?

Mark: This is the kind of movie that I would run out to see. It's the kind of movie that I grew up watching so it was like "finally'. I'd been making all these movies to work with directors, movies that I wouldn't normally go see. So, it was perfect.

Tyrese: For me, John is not gonna call me. He's got so much love for me personally and as far as where he sees me going in my acting career and how he's the one who put me in the game. I never wanted to act, never wanted to be a part of it. He blew my phone up when he was doing Shaft. I ended up changing my number because he figured I could do Shaft while I was in town hosting my show on MTV. I just wasn't interested in making that transition and when I finally did, it was crazy to have the outcome of Baby Boy to do what it did and have the effect it had on people, you sit back and say "damn' somebody sees something in you that you didn't see yourself. With that trust that I have in John, he can pretty much call me with anything because I know he's never gonna put me in anything that's B.S.


You've worked with John three times now. Are you the most comfortable person on the set?

Tyrese: Yeah, that's my dude. Everybody came to me for information about John. It's one thing to come in respecting him as the director myself, knowing what he's done and the track record he has with character pieces. But everybody asked me "Yo, how is it really working with him? Is he open to suggestions? Is he difficult'? I'm like "Yo, he's cool, you can crack jokes, you can have a good time, you can make suggestions but he's very bottom line so when he gets to that point where you can't push him any further, he'll... he's one of them guys that you want to show up to the set every day and make him happy, man. It makes you feel good when he's happy'.


Mark, you are the youngest in your own family. What was it like playing the oldest brother here? Was it a kick?

Mark: Oh, it was. It was. Revenge has been on my mind since I was a small boy. So, I still torture my older brothers and to be the oldest brother in this movie was definitely a treat. I'm not used to being the most experienced actor in a movie. That was a big change but it was great.


Mark, is this guy closer to you than a lot of characters you've played because you always talk about your hard scrabble background.

Mark: Definitely. And I'm a professional wise ass so to be able to showcase that in the way that I got to and still play a character that walks that fine line of being likable because of the mission that he's on where he has to resort to violence. But, the audience seems to be very much behind him and support what he does.


Was there concern that you were going over that line? Was John concerned?

Mark: No John was never that guy. Me and John were always pushing it. Lorenzo was that guy. Lorenzo was kind of the hero monitor in what was too much and what was over the line. We knew that we had to pick our spots to show compassion and to be likable with the younger kids and stuff like that. And, every time I give my brothers a hard time it's still tough love.


Tyrese, you were seen recently at a press screening catching the film.

Tyrese: I went in there to see it. It was crazy seeing the whole thing happen from top to bottom, especially all the scenes that I wasn't around for and wasn't in on. I thought Mark did an incredible job. I was laughing and enjoying his character. I had a good time with Mark and what he brought to the table.


Tyrese, you are the ladies' man in this film. Are you ready to be the lead in a romantic comedy?

Tyrese: I would love to do a romantic comedy but I want it to be more like a dramady because John has kind of instilled in me the difference in people who are just funny but doing it in a serious way. If you look at Baby Boy, you might say "why am I laughing so hard? or "why is all this stuff going on so funny'? and they're not like [loudly] do, do, do, do, cracking jokes. It's just funny because it's drama and the way we're going about dealing with drama so I want to do something that feels more like that.


How was running around in the cold with Sofia Vergara?

Tyrese: That was the world day of my life. It just so happened that that night it was about 35 below zero, just crazy and, of course, with John, we had to do a bunch of different takes so I'm just glad that there is such a thing as a jersey because, honestly, Lorenzo was pissed because I was supposed to be shirtless in that scene and he didn't come to the set that day so I was able to add the wardrobe part.


And how was working with Sofia?

Tyrese: Oh, it was lovely man. I love with working with Sofia, good energy. I expected her to be a prima donna, high maintenance, a diva because she's so beautiful and for her to be as regular as she was definitely fit in with the rest of our personalities. You shouldn't be able to tell how much anybody's worked from hanging out with them or how much they've achieved. We all kind of brought that realness to the table and put all that egotistical stuff behind us and just had a good time.


Mark, you've been in a lot of remakes over the years, was that why you wanted to do this original one?

Mark: Look, there's only so many stories to tell. It's just a matter of trying to invent interesting ways to tell them. Hopefully, The Departed will be very different from Infernal Affairs and Invincible is a true story, an original movie. It depends. If I'm going to revisit familiar territory, it's got to be something I'm interested in. I'm not interested in working with directors because they've won awards in the past or anything like that. It's got to be a piece of material that I'm interested in and a part that I'm excited to play.


Can you talk about your career, what stage you might be at?

Mark: I'm like two stages away from focusing on golf fulltime. I've got a couple of good years left in me. I've got a family now. I'm going to focus on that more than myself so a couple of years making movies. Hopefully I'll find some interesting projects. If not, I'm not going to do anything. I'll just [overlapping.. can't hear].


How old is your daughter?

Mark: She's twenty-two months.


Who do you play in Departed? Is it someone in the original movie or a new character?

Mark: I didn't see the original. I asked Martin if I should and he said "it's gonna be different'. I play the last man standing. If I give away too much about the movie he'll probably... [fades out].


Tyrese, Taraji (P. Henson) has a small role in Four Brothers but what was it like playing with Taraji again after starring with her in "Baby Boy"?

Tyrese: Whew, her performance in Hustle and Flow is incredible. Taraji is just so honest in who she is and what she does. I really don't know if she knows how much I love her. Put it like this, when I first seen Hustle and Flow, I was in Utah when they sold it to that whole hoopla (Sundance?) I was there so it was one of them things where you see something that is so incredible you say to yourself, "I can't even believe I know her'. It was that incredible. I can't even believe that she was sitting two or three rows behind me and after I see what I'm seeing, I'm gonna actually be able to get up and hug her and tell her how incredible she was. It was that incredible to me. It was kind of weird to sit with her, especially since that's my baby's mama.


Mark, have they successfully recruited you for The Brazilian Job?

Mark: We're supposed to get the script this week and it depends on if it's as good or better than the first one.

Tyrese: Brazil? Can I do some extra work?


Mark, Is there a parallel between the family in this film and your own?

Mark: Of course. I've always been family-oriented. I'm the youngest of nine kids. We've got a close family, not as close as we were when we had thirteen people living in a one bathroom house but still, family is what it's all about. No doubt about it.


Mark, are you competitive with your brothers?

Mark: We're not really competitive in that way. I think we're all a lot more competitive about being good people and raising our kids to be good people. I think that's what real success is gonna be all about and the most important.

Tyrese: I worked with Donnie on Annapolis. He was good man. I was impressed.

Mark: And my brother Bob is in The Departed with me. It was a lot of fun. It was the first time I got to work with one of my brothers on a movie. It's nice to know that my decision paid off when I decided that I didn't want to be in New Kids on the Block. I wanted to do my own thing and that my decision, in the long run, paid off. That's kind of nice to know.


Tyrese are you going back to your music?

Tyrese: Yeah. I'm putting out my fourth album soon.

Mark: Sing a little bit of the song you wrote about you and Sofia having sex on the washing machine. [laughter]. It's good. It's good.


How was working with Sofia?

Mark: It was cool. She was great. The part was originally written for an Asian girl and then they decided to see anybody and everybody. It would be funny if we were talking about this girl, not seeing her at all and then it's this Asian girl with a real attitude living in the hood. But she [Sofia] came in a won the role. She did a great job. It's a tough role to make funny and likable as opposed to coming across as bitchy.


Who named her La Vida Loca?

Mark: Me. It used to be Loco Ono.


Are you going to do a cameo in Fast and Furious Three?


Tyrese. I just talked to him about it the other day. He was walking up the street so we'll see what happens on that.

FOUR BROTHERS opens on August 12, 2005


 

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