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Mark Wahlberg’s team prevails – It’s a hot and humid Saturday morning in Pontiac, Michigan, where Mark Wahlberg is filming “Transformers: The Last Knight” and a small crew is on hand to shoot the cover of 24Life. He’s been working 16 hours a day, and there’s no rest on the weekend: he’s got Wahlburgers restaurant business to address here, as well as a working dinner. Nevertheless, he is going to make sure he attends church, squeezes in a round of golf, and has some fun with the 24Life crew, too.

Wahlberg is in action-hero shape, and his hair is longer than usual for the latest chapter in the Transformers saga. It’s a fast follow-on to his role in “Patriots Day,” a film about the Boston Marathon bombing, and his character Mike Williams, the electronics technician who became the face of one of the world’s largest man-made disasters, in “Deepwater Horizon” — due in theaters September 30.

As we talk with Wahlberg about his sensitive and skilled portrayal of Williams in “Deepwater Horizon”— and the opportunity it gave him to bring forward the human story behind the environmental tragedy — it becomes clear how deeply Wahlberg values people and community, not only in his career as an actor and producer, but also in his family life and in his ventures in the restaurant industry and in performance water and supplementation.

24Life: “Deepwater Horizon” presents the untold story behind that disaster — that of individuals and a community facing life-or-death decisions. Many of the standout roles you’ve played are ones in which your character’s relationship to others is crucial. Is that element a factor in your choice of parts or projects?

Mark Wahlberg (MW): A lot of things go into the decision-making process, but with stories like “Deepwater Horizon,” we’re talking about the lives of real people and dealing with tragedy and loss of life. Those are obviously extremely delicate subjects, especially in the case of Deepwater Horizon. Eleven people lost their lives, but all the media attention and focus was on the environmental disaster. It seemed like not a lot of people know that … the 11 people that lost their lives do a job, and are part of a world and a community that provides a service for us, [and we’re] unaware of the dangers and risks they face to get those resources that are part of our daily lives.

We had the huge responsibility of making sure that we did it right, and that we did proper justice to the lives of the people we portrayed. Obviously, every movie is different, every role is different, but when dealing with true stories, we make that sure every single person involved is committed to getting it right and making sure that we honor the people [we are portraying]. That’s the golden rule. And no one has a problem doing that.

24Life: On the outside, AQUAHydrate and your new Performance Inspired line of all-natural supplements might seem like a departure from your film and television career. What’s behind this latest venture?

MW: Really, I’ve always wanted to live a healthy lifestyle. I eat right and exercise and stay hydrated, and I always feel better. So I want to encourage as many people as possible to adopt that same attitude and lifestyle. I had no interest in being in the beverage business, but I loved AQUAHydrate [an alkaline water] — it was the only thing that I changed in my entire routine while training for a very intense project. I became a firm believer, and I wanted as many people to reap the benefits as possible, so I started reaching out to people [in the beverage industry]. I’m never one who shies away from picking up the phone and trying to contact somebody or pick somebody’s brain.

24Life: You pursue your passions by teaming up with or finding the people who can support those ventures. It seems like there could be an opportunity for distraction along the way, as … people bring their own interests into the mix. How do you avoid that?

MW: Everything comes from personal experience. I like doing business, and I like being successful in business, but I don’t want to sell anything that I don’t believe in, and that doesn’t change who I am and what I stand for. [That’s true for] Performance Inspired, and even with Wahlburgers, [which is] one of those things where if you eat right and exercise, you should be able to indulge periodically in things that you enjoy.

24Life: Readers are probably wondering whether you indulge — do you?

MW: You have to get to that place where you can get in shape, and then it’s easier to stay in shape, and then you can do whatever you want. If you’re exercising four or five days a week, there isn’t any reason why you can’t eat anything that you want as long as it’s in moderation.

That’s how I like to live my life. I don’t want to live a boot camp type of existence. If I have to, I make a drastic change: in “Patriots Day,” I got as heavy as I possibly could, and as out-of-shape as I possibly could, to play a disgruntled cop. And in “Transformers: The Last Knight,” I needed to be as thin and ripped as possible, and I had four weeks before I got in front of the camera, so that meant getting rid of everything [in my diet] that wasn’t extremely clean.

24Life: That shift from one role to another requires discipline. How does that play a part in your life?

MW: Well, it’d be crazy not to be as disciplined as I am. I’m so blessed to have turned my life around the way I did and have the opportunities that I have. My job is to show up prepared, in the shape that I need to be in, and able to play that part and perform those things that are required of me — and that’s what I’d better do. I pride myself on never having not been prepared and shown up ready to go. I know there’s a bunch of other guys out there that’d love to have my job, and I’m competitive in that way where I want to be the best that I can be. I want everybody to give me first crack at a job.

24Life: And speaking of discipline, your approach to fitness has to change with your role, but has your overall approach to fitness changed over the years?

MW: I think now, it really comes down to functional movement. You go through phases — you just want to lift weights in the gym because you want to look a certain way — and now, I just want to be able to perform and function at the highest level, and execute. I want real mobility.

24Life: You’ve always made it clear that family is very important to you. With a full slate of professional pursuits, how do you strike a balance?

MW: Well, it’s tough. Like today [a Saturday packed with business]. My family came to Detroit for three weeks, and then we’re FaceTiming this morning. They’re in school so it’s hard for them to travel, but I never go more than two weeks without seeing the kids. [When it’s possible,] they do spend time in various places where I’m working, whether it’s in New Orleans or Boston or Detroit, but I want to finish work on Friday and see them. If I get any free time, I’m going home.

I also know I’ve only got so long to do [what I do for a living], certainly at this pace. These opportunities don’t come around too often, either, so that definitely is a factor. You’ve got to just find a nice balance.

24Life: What have you learned about yourself as you prepare for and perform new roles and pursue new business ventures?

MW: The older you get, the wiser you get. I’m dealing with kids now. If I had just listened to my parents, what they had told me, I could have avoided a lot of mistakes. And I try to communicate that to my kids in that way [laughs] but it still doesn’t work. Experience is everything, so I am never afraid to ask questions and pay attention to what’s going on around me. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to be aware of people’s feelings. That, and my drive, my desire to work harder, just continues to grow to this day.

24Life: Any advice for someone who’s just starting out on a path to their greatest passion or their career?

MW: You’ve got to be in it for the long haul. Hard work pays off. The only way you’re going to do it is by really doing good, honest work [chuckles]. No shortcuts. Anytime you do [take a shortcut], it comes back to bite you in the ass.


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