Mark Wahlberg: Mel Gibson inspired me to self-fund Father Stu

Mark Wahlberg’s new film “Father Stu” tells the true story of Stuart Long, an amateur boxer who becomes a Catholic priest while suffering from inclusion body myositis. The film is more than just an acting gig for Wahlberg, who recently told Insider that he’s spent “millions and millions” of his own money to partially self-fund “Father Stu” as no other funder would support the project. . Wahlberg said he was partly inspired by his co-star Mel Gibson, who spent around $30 million of his own money to help fund “The Passion of the Christ.”

“Well, I’m always willing to bet on myself,” Wahlberg said of the partially self-funded “Father Stu.” “I slipped the script to a few people who I thought might get it, and they didn’t. And obviously that’s subjective. You get your own feel for what the material. Some people thought it was depressing because he’s sick at the end. They didn’t see the heart and the emotion and ultimately how inspiring it is.

Wahlberg added, “I felt like Mel did it with ‘The Passion,’ so maybe I’m trying. And if I found someone to fund, then that’s a whole other conversation because usually the person doing the check also has notes and wants to be involved in the process, so I thought to myself, you know what, I think it’s best if I step in and have full control.

When asked how much of his own money he spent on the film, Wahlberg replied, “Let’s just say that I invested millions and millions of dollars in the film – and then hired other costs because we’re over the production schedule and there are music clearances.” Two of Wahlberg’s friends also joined in to fund the project.

Variety Film critic Owen Gleiberman called “Father Stu” an “awkward true story” in his review, adding, “It goes deeper into religious sentiment than you might think, but you wish the drama was less sketchy… ‘Father Stu’ isn’t your everyday Hollywood religious odyssey – it’s closer to ‘Diary of a Country Cutup.’ It’s a surprisingly heartfelt film about religious sentiment, but it’s also, too often, a dramatically underpowered film.

“Father Stu” opens in theaters April 13 from Sony Pictures.

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