Father Stu: in anticipation of the new Mark Wahlberg film, we look back at six of the actor's most memorable movies

One of Hollywood's most prolific actors, Mark Wahlberg returns to the big screen next month in the true-life drama Father Stu (in Cineworld cinemas from 13 May). Rosalind Ross's directorial debut sees Wahlberg playing a potty-mouthed amateur boxer who, after his careeer is ended by a motorcycle injury, decides to help others by becoming a Catholic priest. Based on the true-life story of Stuart Long, Father Stu is an unflinchingly honest but inspiring yarn that's sure to warm the soul.

To celebrate the imminent release of Father Stu, we decided to take a retrospective look at some of Mark Wahlberg's most memorable movies. Let us know what your favourite Wahlberg film is by sending us a tweet @cineworld.  



1. The Basketball Diaries (1995)

In Scott Kalvert's harrowing biographical drama, Wahlberg scored a slam-dunk with his portrayal of Mickey, a high-school basketball player who, together with his friends Jim (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Pedro (James Madio) becomes addicted to heroin following the death of a close pal. Wahlberg – who made his name as a pop star – later claimed that DiCaprio didn't want him in the film. He told the Huffington Post: “Leonardo said, 'No way, I’m not making a movie with Marky Mark.' As did a lot of other people.” Thankfully for us, Leo had a change of heart.  



2. Boogie Nights (1997)

Just two years after playing a heroin addict, Wahlberg demonstrated his versatility as an actor by portraying adult film star Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson's biopic of the LA porn industry. Funnily enough, the role of Adams was originally offered to Wahlberg's The Basketball Diaries co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. However, Leo turned it down in favour of Titanic, meaning Wahlberg got the gig. He didn't waste the opportunity – in Rolling Stone's review of the film, Peter Travers observed that: “[T]his chunk of movie dynamite is detonated by Mark Wahlberg ... who grabs a breakout role and runs with it.”



3. Four Brothers (2005)

Wahlberg was cast alongside Tyrese Gibson, André 3000 and Garrett Hedlund in John Singleton's enjoyable crime drama about four siblings who set out to avenge their adoptive mother's death – and such was the chemistry between the quartet of actors that Wahlberg later questioned how the film ever got finished. “The whole movie, yeah, it was non stop,” he told Hollywood.com. It was remarkable that we actually got to shoot some stuff, and still be able to tell the story. Of these guys trying to avenge their mother’s death, as opposed to trying to one up each other.” 



4. The Departed (2006)

Martin Scorsese's complex crime drama saw Wahlberg playing a sergeant in the Massachusetts State Police who oversees an undercover operation to nail gang boss Frank Costello (played by Jack Nicholson). What he and the rest of his team don't realise is that Costello has a mole of his own working as a cop. According to reports, while shooting the film, Massachusetts native Wahlberg resorted to his broadest local accent, leading Scorsese to quip that they would need to use subtitles. Wahlberg had the last laugh, though, scooping an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. 



5. The Fighter (2010)

Father Stu isn't the first film in which Wahlberg plays a boxer. He also sported a pair of gloves for David O. Russell's Oscar-winning biopic of former welterweight Micky Ward. To make the fight scenes look as realistic as possible, Wahlberg insisted on taking real punches while he was in the ring, and almost got his nose broken on a couple of occasions. Incredibly, he also spent more than four years bodybuilding in order to bulk up for the role. His efforts didn't go unnoticed, and Sports Illustrated hailed The Fighter as the best sports film of the decade, and “one of the best since Martin Scorsese backlit Robert De Niro's Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull”. 



6. Patriots Day (2016)

Based on the book Boston Strong, Peter Berg's Patriots Day sees Wahlberg starring as a police sergeant who tries to find the terrorists responsible for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. It was the third time that the actor had made a based-on-a-true-story with Berg – their previous collaborations being Lone Survivor (2013) and Deepwater Horizon (2016). And the pair obviously work well together, as Patriots Day was named by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of the year.