Mark Wahlberg Had To Eat 'The Most Miserable Food' To Transform His Body For Father Stu

Warning: SPOILERS for Father Stu are in play. If you don’t know the story about Father Stuart Long, and want to remain unspoiled, feel free to enjoy a spoiler-free piece of coverage from CinemaBlend. 

In his upcoming movie Father Stu, Mark Wahlberg starts the movie out in top form to depict Father Stuart Long in his former career as a boxer. Physically fit, we see his quest to become a priest change him spiritually in a story of faith and redemption. Sadly, those who know the real-life story of Father Long know that towards the end of his life, his battle with the degenerative condition inclusion body myositis caused him to gain weight. Depicting that life story could have been handled several different ways, but for this project, Mark Wahlberg engaged in a miserable diet in order to physically transform for the role. 

During my interview with Mark Wahlberg for the Father Stu press day, he mentioned how he originally started developing the film with director David O. Russell. That provided an opportunity to ask whether or not Mark Wahlberg may have learned any lessons in bodily transformation from his previous work with Russell and co-star Christian Bale in 2010’s The Fighter (which Wahlberg was game to make a sequel to back in the day).

In his Academy Award-winning performance as Wahlberg’s on-screen brother Dicky Ward, Bale engaged in one of his trademark bodily transformations. While there wasn’t any sort of tutelage or memory of the weight-changing process that Christian Bale has now given up, Wahlberg did provide details to CinemaBlend that described how he managed to gain the weight: 

I didn’t, but oddly enough we worked with the same kind of doctor/dietician, whatever guy who made me eat the most miserable food for six full weeks. 7,000 calories a day for the first two weeks, and 11,000 calories a day for the final four weeks. And there was never, ever any sweets, or anything that I was actually excited to eat, on the menu. It was just stuff your face with lots of proteins, and then of course lots of starch, and lots of sodium to get the bloating effect. I was absolutely miserable, so I don’t plan on doing that again any time soon.

According to Mark Wahlberg’s previous recollections, he put on about 30 pounds for his role in Father Stu. In an interview with ET, he revealed some of the components to his diet, which apparently included glasses of olive oil, in an effort to gain weight the healthy way. Even with the degree of bodily transformation that Mark Wahlberg engaged in, there was still a need for a little bit of movie magic as described below: 

We actually still used [prosthetics], because we didn’t get to completely shoot in chronological order. So we had to, sometimes I’d wear something under my shirt. Sometimes we’d have some pieces on the neck and face. We had some incredible people who were able to kind of help us get there. But, you know, you always want to make it practical, and do it as real as possible. That was always the plan, and anything we could do to enhance that, we were certainly open to doing.

Through the blend of prosthetics and actual practical transformation, Mark Wahlberg’s performance in Father Stu is enhanced by his dedication to the part. Even if he sticks to his word and stays away from chugging olive oil to bulk up, the results are just another example of how Father Stu separates itself from typical faith-based films. Judging by how he talks about the experience, don't expect another Wahlberg transformation like the one you've seen here. 

With movies like a potential adaptation of The Six Million Dollar Man sitting in Mark Wahlberg's upcoming movie slate, keeping in shape is going to be a priority. That's especially true if Wahlberg's "answer to superhero movies" wants to get into production any time soon. So who knows if he'll be asked to take that sort of leap again at any point. In the meantime, you can experience it for yourself when Father Stu will be in theaters exclusively, starting on April 13th.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.