Actor Mark Wahlberg has claimed that religion isn’t popular in Hollywood.
The movie star, best known for ‘Ted’ and ‘Boogie Nights’, is a devout Catholic and appeared on the American TV show ‘Today’ on Wednesday (22 February) sporting an ash cross on his forehead. The cross marks Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar.
51-year-old Wahlberg told the show that there's a balance when it comes to being a professional actor and also trying to champion and spread faith.
The former ‘Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’ musician, who transitioned to an acting career in the mid '90s said, “I don’t want to jam it down anybody’s throat, but I do not deny my faith. That’s an even bigger sin”. He added, “You know, it’s not popular in my industry, but, you know, I cannot deny my faith. It’s important for me to share that with people. I have friends from all walks of life and all different types of faiths and religions, so you know, it’s important to respect and honour them as well”.
Despite his attempts to keep his faith and career separate, Wahlberg’s religion has often been very present in his acting work. In the past, he has expressed regret over his role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Boogie Nights’, saying playing a porn star was not in line with his religious values. He also apologised to Pope Francis during a 2015 meeting for the crude language his character used in R-rated comedy film ‘Ted’.
In 2022, Wahlberg stared-in and produced ‘Father Stu’, a drama telling the true story of the late Stuart Long who was an amateur boxer turned Catholic priest suffering from a progressive muscle disorder.
Wahlberg explained to ‘Today’ that his dedication to getting the film made saw him spend “millions and millions” of his own money. The movie got mixed reviews, however. Rotten Tomatoes lists the movie's approval rating at just 41%.
During his Today interview, Wahlberg confessed his religious faith has held him back on occasion, admitting that he'd had to move churches on multiple occasions as members of the congregation kept pitching him film ideas.
He said, "I'm not at church looking to find material. I'm trying to find some peace and quiet to be able to worship”.