Mark Wahlberg has starred in critical duds like “Planet of the Apes” and “Rock Star,” and yet it’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights” that he’s asking God to forgive him for. The actor, who is a devout Catholic, is going viral for comments he made during an appearance at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. Joined on stage by Cardinal Blasé Cupich, Wahlberg said “Boogie Nights” was at the top of his list of poor career choices.
“I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past,” Wahlberg said. “‘Boogie Nights’ is up there at the top of the list.”
“Boogie Nights” was Wahlberg’s early breakthrough thanks to his performance as rising porn star Dirk Diggler. At the time, the actor was coming off supporting turns in “The Basketball Diaries” and “Traveller,” plus a co-leading turn opposite Reese Witherspoon in “Fear,” but working with Paul Thomas Anderson offered Wahlberg his first meaty dramatic lead role. Wahlberg earned critical raves and the success of “Boogie Nights” brought his career to the next level, as he signed on to projects from David O. Russell, James Grey, Tim Burton and more.
Earlier this year, Wahlberg admitted to ABC News that the role of Diggler probably wouldn’t be on his radar now that he’s a father. “I have four kids, I’ve got two daughters, I’m married and I try not to let that affect what I do as an artist,” he said. “But being a dad, it’d be tougher to make that decision now.” He almost didn’t accept the role back in the 1990s, although the script convinced him otherwise.
“Boogie Nights” is now streaming on Netflix.