Mark Wahlberg leads the cast of Contraband, an action-thriller about a man trying to stay out of a world he worked hard to leave behind and the family he’ll do anything to protect. Set in New Orleans, the film explores the cutthroat underground world of international smuggling – full of desperate criminals and corrupt officials, high-stakes and big payoffs – where loyalty rarely exists and death is one wrong turn away. I sat down with Wahlberg to discuss the film and shooting in New Orleans.
Tell us about your character Chris Farraday? In the very beginning of the film, I am happy at home starting up my new business setting up alarm systems and spending time with my wife and my two boys. My good friend Danny, played by Lukas Haas, is getting married, and my wife and I are very much in love.
But his life doesn’t stay so simple, right? Unfortunately, my wife’s younger brother Andy, played by Caleb Landry Jones, makes a horrible mistake of getting talked into the smuggling world by these very unsavory characters, and his boat gets boarded by customs, and he has to dump what he’s smuggling. These guys are coming after him for the money, and if he can’t pay they’re going to kill him and then come after his family; so, basically I try and approach them and say “look cut him a break we’ll figure out a way to pay you back,” and they’re not having it; so, I’m forced to go out on one last run, and Sebastian who is played by Ben Foster helps me to get the buy money and puts me on a boat, and we’re off to Panama.
And your wife and kids are left in a dangerous situation when you leave. I go to this guy’s house played by Giovanni Ribisi, and I don’t go to his house to confront him, I go there to tell him look, I’m gonna have your money, and he starts pointing a gun at me and saying things he shouldn’t say to me and saying things that I’m uncomfortable with him saying to me; so, I wind up kicking the crap out of him in front of his daughter. You know, he wants to do me the favor[in retaliation] and show up at my house when I’m not there and scare my wife and kids, and then my friend Sebastian who is supposed to be watching my wife and kids is having to deal with this and these guys while I’m out on the boat.
Now this movie is a remake, and Baltasar Kormakur directs it, the same guy who starred in the original version of the film. What was it like working with someone so closely associated to the movie? There are no bells and whistles you know. I don’t think he’s ever made a movie that had even one tenth of the budget we have, but you know he still has the same approach. He’s not off in a trailer, he’s on the set the whole time jumping, running and showing me how to climb up things. I really like his style. He’s covering all the bases and really smart about all the performances. He obviously starred in and produced the original; so, he knows the story inside out.
Speaking of climbing up things. This had a lot of action in it. Do you enjoy that part of making a film like this? The action is fantastic and again its grounded in reality. I mean there are some big action sequences, but they’re grounded and real.
You can check out Mark Wahlberg in Contraband at local theaters. The film is rated R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use.