For all the action and special effects you can stuff into a film, one of the most appealing things to an audience can be seeing two of their favorite stars face off for the first time. Think Pacino & De Niro in “Heat.” Diesel and The Rock in “Fast Five.” Crystal and Williams in “Father’s Day.” OK, maybe not the last one. As such, there’s one film that, ever since its announcement, looks to be the true successor to that coffee shop scene in Michael Mann‘s classic, a team-up so enticing that it can only be a license to print money. Wahlberg. Bieber. BOOM. Two tickets and a large popcorn, please.
Yes, the former teen heartthrob Mark Wahlberg, and current teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, have, since April, been planning a collaboration, a drama from “How To Make It In America” creator Ian Edelman that takes place in the gritty world of street basketball. We promise we’re not making this up.
Wahlberg recently spoke to MTV about the film, which is still in development, and continues to suggest that it’s going to be pretty serious in tone, comparing it to a Scorsese classic. “Think of, like ‘The Color of Money,’ ” he told the site, before saying that the film marks his move into elder statesmen roles. “So I get this call from Paramount [with a story about] an old guy and a young guy. I’m like, ‘Cool, let’s get Jack [Nicholson]. Let’s get Robert De Niro. Let’s get Robert Duvall.’ And they go, ‘What about Garrett Hedlund?’ I’m like, ‘For what?’ They’re like, ‘For the young guy.’ ”
Once Wahlberg was on board, it was his idea to go to Bieber, which Paramount approved of, and the actor acknowledges that he’s taking a risk, but feels that it’s the right move. “Intuition. I’m pretty intuitive,” says the man who thought starring in “The Happening” would be a good idea, of his decision to go with the unproven teen star. “I see the guy and spent time with him, and you see what he does and how he does it, and then you actually have a conversation with him, and it’s there. It’s there — and if it’s not, I will extract it.” The script is still in the works and there’s no director on board, so Wahlberg’s got plenty of time to extract whatever “it” is from Bieber. In the meantime, he’ll next be seen in the thriller “Contraband,” which opens January 13th.