Pain & Gain, starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie, is an action comedy about a trio of bodybuilders who find themselves in an extortion scheme.
Here, Mackie shares with fans and moviegoers how he prepared for his role and what it’s like working with Hollywood heavyweights Wahlberg, Johnson and director Michael Bay.
This writer believes this is honestly, probably one of the best portrayal of characters in a movie that I’ve ever seen. –necorey johnson
The last interview you did with rolling out was during the promotion of Gangster Squad, how has life been treating you since?
To quote the great poet Will Smith, I’m doing so good it’s a damn shame. (laughs) I have no complaints, just been working keeping busy. Spending time in New Orleans and working on some of my personal projects.
Pain & Gain is an amazing movie. How did you prepare for your role, playing Adrian Doorbal?
When I got the script, I literally had to go back every 10 pages and re-read because I couldn’t believe it. I thought what the writer did was so intelligent. He gave all three of these guys a level of humanity that an audience can relate to. We all at some point in time say, “you know what? I feel like I’m underappreciated. I’m not being valued for what I bring to this relationship or to this job.” So we all look for more. We all look for a route to achieving the American dream, which was what these guys want. They just go about it the wrong way.
It’s clear from the movie that you had to really hit the weights and beef up for this role, can you break down your training regimen?
The training was so hard. I found out I got this job about three weeks before we began shooting. Looking at Dwayne [Johnson] and Mark [Wahlberg], these dudes are known for working out, so I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to have to really get it in.’ I started two-a-day; I got a trainer and I would do a workout in the morning and a workout in the evening, eat six meals a day and get eight hours of sleep. I wanted to be serious about it. Over the three months of shooting. The month prior to shooting, I just worked out and had monumental gains as far as my squats, my bench press and everything.
So is it safe to say this was your most challenging role to date?
Definitely, it’s my most challenging role in many different ways. I’ve never had a demand put on me in the way that this movie demanded of me. Mentally, I’ve never been in a position in order to play a role you have to justify your actions in your mind, because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to go through with it. As I read the script, I didn’t get it. Then I heard one story about the character I play, Adrian Doorbal. I was reading that on the day he got the verdict that he was sentenced to death. They caught him in the bathroom having sex with his paralegal; I said to myself that’s the type of guy we’re dealing with.
How was it working with The Rock and Mark Wahlberg and seeing these guys tackle their characters as well?
It was great, man. In this business it’s funny. Every movie is a race. You’re put in a movie with two superior athletes and you can either push yourself and keep up or you can let them run ahead and you fall behind. It’s your decision to make. The one thing I wanted to do when I got this role is show that I can keep pace with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson because pretty much they’re two of the biggest stars in Hollywood right now. I wanted the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with them. I was always a huge fan of director Michael [Bay]; Bad Boys is still one of my favorite movies and I was hoping I would get to work with him on Bad Boys 3. This is definitely a fair compromise. So, I don’t need to be the star of the team. I definitely want to be the best sixth man.
What does Michael Bay pull out of you as a director?
Michael gets this bad reputation. He’s very demanding. The first day I [showed0 up on set, we [shot] the scenes with me carrying the dog out of the race track. I show up and Michael’s like, “Look this is what I need, this is what we’re doing, let’s go.” I’m like hold up man. I’m supposed to go back to my trailer, eat and chill out until you’re ready. He’s like, “I got three cameras ready right now; we’re ready to roll.” So I’m like so that’s what we’re doing. We’re actually working so now that I know, I got it. He expects you to be prepared. When you come to set, he wants you to know what you’re going to do. You look at Dewayne’s performance and the level of emotion he brought to this character is not like any character he’s ever played before. I think that’s a direct correlat[ion] to Michael letting him know that I’m going to work your a– in this movie. You’re not just going to stand back and look beef. I’m going to work you. He pretty much did that to all of us. He put us on the treadmill and had us run until we couldn’t run anymore.
Most important aspect of the character you play …
Well, it is the idea of Adrian and everything he brought to this trio of bodybuilders. He basically is the grounding force within the movie. The thing that I love about the character and the idea of him getting life in prison is — one, he is the true essence of someone wanting to achieve the American dream. Everybody else went out and bought cars and got hot chicks, this that and the third. Adrian bought a modest house with a wife and a minivan. That shows you the type of things that he was thinking about that was valuable to him. He just wanted the ability to be able to provide for his family or basically live to our definition of a man. This man who provides for his family. That’s what I think came into play when you look at how far he was willing to go to get this money and change his life.
Pain & Gain hits theaters April 26, 2013
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures and Mark Fellman