Mel Gibson says he wasn’t surprised Mark Wahlberg encountered resistance to doing ‘Father Stu’: ‘People want it’ – Reuters News in France and abroad

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For Mel Gibson, feeling passionate about a faith-based project in Hollywood is close to home.

The actor has teamed up with Mark Wahlberg to star in “Father Stu,” which tells the story of an amateur boxer-turned-priest (Wahlberg) in Montana who suffers from a degenerative and incurable muscle disease.

The story is based on real father Stuart Long, who leaned on faith during tough times. Long died in 2014 at the age of 50. Wahlberg, a devout Catholic, is also a producer on the biopic.

Gibson, who produced, directed and co-wrote the 2004 Bible film “The Passion of the Christ,” told Fox News Digital that confronting “Father Stu” was a no-brainer.

‘FATHER STU’ STAR MARK WAHLBERG SAYS HE COULD LEAVE HOLLYWOOD ‘SOER SOON THAN LATER PROBABLY’

Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg attend the photo call for ‘Father Stu’ on April 1, 2022 in West Hollywood, California.
(Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

“You know, I had a pretty big experience with ‘The Passion’,” the 66-year-old explained. “It was an interesting journey to understand that there is a real thirst for this type of content. People want it and they respond well. It is therefore a privilege to be part of this delivery. »

“I think ‘Father Stu’ delivers that,” the star continued. “It’s a little different. I wouldn’t really call it a faith-based movie, but I think it fulfills all those cravings that the community wants. But at the same time, it’s not preaching to the choir. There are F-bombs, so you have to battle those things to get to the jewel. »

When it came to bringing “Father Stu” to life, there were a few challenges along the way. Wahlberg, 50, previously noted that he spent six “slow years” trying to get the film made. And when the time finally came, the project was shot in 30 days during the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. Like Gibson with “Passion,” Wahlberg self-financed his film with the help of two collaborators.

Wahlberg also described how he faced resistance not only from studios for doing “Father Stu,” but also from the church for his use of the F-word. The actor said he wanted to share an uplifting message. while staying true to Long’s journey from “self-destruction to redemption.”

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Mark Wahlberg, a devout Catholic, plays real father Stuart Long in the biopic.

Mark Wahlberg, a devout Catholic, plays real father Stuart Long in the biopic.
(Sony Pictures)

Gibson, who played Wahlberg’s father, said he wasn’t surprised by the opposition his co-star has faced over the years.

“I think we’re really lucky that the material was given to a very competent and talented young writer who was able to bring the story from the page to the screen,” he said. “I think that’s what makes the difference. It’s about the execution and how it comes to life. You laugh for most of the movie until you cry. And the reason you laugh and cry is because it touches the truth. »

Gibson described how he was impressed with Wahlberg’s physical transformation to play Long. Wahlberg, who is known for chronicling his no-frills daily fitness regimen, gained 30 pounds while eating 11,000 calories a day for eight months. He gained weight by eating a dozen eggs, a dozen pieces of bacon, two baked potatoes, a Porterhouse steak, two bowls of white rice and drinking a glass of olive oil.

“He hit the mark,” the Oscar-winning actor laughed of Wahlberg’s engagement. “He ate everything in sight for about a month. And beware, it was only a 30-day shoot. He must have started eating peanut butter sandwiches and gorging on spaghetti, steak and cups of lard. »

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Mark Wahlberg, known for chronicling his no-frills fitness routine, gained 30 pounds for the role of Stuart Long.

Mark Wahlberg, known for chronicling his no-frills fitness routine, gained 30 pounds for the role of Stuart Long.
(Sony Pictures)

“I don’t know how he did it,” Gibson continued. “I don’t need to try to do that. I just have to live normally and I breathe. But he had to make an effort. And then he managed to take it all off, which I can’t do, regardless. what I try. But I will ask his advice.

Gibson said he’s grateful to Wahlberg for being able to publish “Father Stu,” a story that offers many life lessons that audiences can relate to.

“He looked within himself and who he was as a person,” Gibson said of Long’s real life. “He came to accept his mortality and what he could do. You know, we’re all going to be hit with something, either an illness or just a horrible, unfortunate accident. We are all going to experience something that will affect us. emotionally or physically. So how do you handle these things? How do you heal? This is the lesson for me.

Wahlberg explained to Fox Nation in February why “Father Stu” is needed now.

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Mark Wahlberg visits All Saints Chapel at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

Mark Wahlberg visits All Saints Chapel at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.
(Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)

“People need to have faith and hope,” he said at the time. “I just knew I needed to make this movie, and it was my calling and it was my mission. And, now, it is more necessary than ever. »

“Hopefully this will do some really important work and help a lot of people,” he continued. “This is definitely a turning point for me in my life…I need to stop focusing so much on Mark and start doing a lot more work for God and for those less fortunate. »

Asked about the film’s message to audiences, Wahlberg said it was simply about “not giving up.”

“God is not going to abandon you,” encouraged the actor. “Don’t you dare give up on yourself. »

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Mel Gibson says he wasn’t surprised Mark Wahlberg encountered resistance to doing ‘Father Stu’: ‘People want it’ – Reuters News in France and abroad