We are all used to ogling Mark Wahlberg’s tight, bulging biceps, but the 43-year-old actor transformed his muscular body and underwent a drastic 60-pound weight loss for his role as literature professor Jim Bennett in the crime thriller The Gambler.
Usually known for his imposing presence and endless muscles, Wahlberg took a cue from his “The Fighter” co-star Christian Bale for the role of literary professor-by-day, gambler-by-night Jim Bennett, dropping a ton of weight to disappear into his character.
At first, Wahlberg wanted to go the opposite direction. “It was like, ‘Why not just do the weightgain thing? Eat a few pounds of cheeseburgers and beer, and look like a real teacher,” he joked with MTV. But Wahlberg said that Wyatt had a specific vision in mind for the character, which required Wahlberg to shed some pounds.
Like many actors, Mark Wahlberg takes his work very seriously. So seriously that he dropped a staggering 60 pounds to portray gambler Jim Bennett in the upcoming fictional film “The Gambler” — and he did it in a very unhealthy way.
“I went from 197 to — the lightest I’d ever been in a movie was in ‘Boogie Nights,’ I was 138 — so I wanted to beat that,” he recently said. “I beat it by a pound, so 137. I was losing weight while we were shooting the movie, too, so continuity kind of went out of the window.”
Once he started losing weight, Wahlberg became obsessed with the process. “Right around the start of shooting, they said, ‘You’re good, you’re good, don’t lose anymore weight,'” he said. “And I just kept going until the last day. I was like, ‘Well, in “Boogie Nights,” I was 138 pounds, so I have to beat that.’ And the tailor was knocking on my door every day to tighten up my suit, pants and jacket.”
Wahlberg said that the lack of food and rapid weight loss helped him focus even more on the task at hand, and wasn’t even the hardest part of shooting “The Gambler.” (That distinction belongs to “being confident as a literary professor,” which is why he always carried around a dictionary.) In fact, the Oscar-nominated star, now back in full muscular form, said he could see himself dropping weight again.