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Mark Wahlberg is making the publicity rounds today on behalf of Contraband, which opens Friday, but he has spent a good amount of time answering questions about The Fighter. It is somewhat understandable - David O. Russell’s Oscar-winning picture was a big hit for the actor, but it also earned him some respect as a producer that money-making efforts like The Other Guys can’t muster.
So, to no one’s real surprise, Wahlberg continues to talk about the possibility of stepping into the ring a Micky Ward once again, though not in a traditional sequel, just an extension of the story. I happened to hear Wahlberg as a guest on The Ron and Fez Show, a Sirius-XM comedy interview program, where Wahlberg said he’d love to do a film that explored the three tragic fights between Ward and Arturo Gatti. The boxers fought in 2002, with Ward emerging victorious. The fight was so brutal that they declared an immediate rematch, which Gatti won in another wild brawl. A third fight was scheduled, and these titans slugged it out until … well, save it for the sequel (of look it up yourself, as I don’t really want to spoil it for you).
But Wahlberg also told The Playlist that he’ll be looking for another director to continue that story, as a rift that exists between himself and Russell seems to have expanded.
“We got to do that film before I get too old," Wahlberg told the site, "so maybe in the next year, year and a half. We have to wait for the script [from Scott Silver], and then we'll choose a director."
The Fighter was a solid movie, and Ward is a great character for Wahlberg to play. He was overshadowed by Christian Bale as drug-addled brother Dicky Ward, so I wonder if a Fighter sequel (or whatever Wahlberg calls it) would need Bale before it needed Russell? Either way, it sounds like Wahlberg wants to get back in the ring to tell that story, and it likely will happen sooner rather than later.