Spoilers for Spenser Confidential on Netflix can be found throughout this article. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg are no strangers to teaming up. The two have worked on Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Mile 22, and Patriots Day – all movies with deep and dramatic storylines. Now they are back with Netflix’s Spenser Confidential, a new movie that also has plenty of action but plenty of humor as well.
Which is why it’s not a huge surprise to learn that probably the most fun action set piece in the movies wasn’t really rehearsed.
Although I’d hear an argument for Black Betty running over a bunch of black good SUVS as being the most fun action set piece, there’s actually a scene earlier in the movie that I think takes the cake. In it, Mark Wahlberg’s Spenser is minding his own business and ordering Mexican food in a restaurant when a bunch of guys with machetes attempt to take him out. It's one of many, many scene in the movie in which Mark Wahlberg gets his butt kicked while in a scrape.
Spenser, of course, isn’t going to get murdered, although it's not easy to take on multiple dudes with machetes. So the scene features the actors working his way though some wildly complicated movies, including stabs and punches as he works to diffuse the situation. Apparently, as cool as it looks onscreen, the whole scene wasn’t really rehearsed.
We didn’t really rehearse this scene at all. We kind of went in – it was pre-choreographed – actually shooting in pieces. So, we would kind of just show me in the morning what the scene looked like and then we would get all these guys and we’d go at it. We shot the scene pretty much in a day at the actual restaurant. Then we had an interior built on a sound stage where we picked up little pieces and some inserts. Stuff like that.
The action-heavy scene is wildly complicated. Mark Wahlberg is taking on multiple baddies (who are brandishing machetes) at once while his pal Hawk jams out to some music (fake music, according to Duke) in a car. Eventually Hawk rams said car into the Mexican restaurant to get his pal Spenser out of the sticky situation.
As a whole, the fighting sequence seems very complex and Winston Duke even told Netflix as part of the interview that he’s not the guy driving for the majority of the stunt. (Although it is his foot we see driving later on in the scene.) It’s astonishing to me that something could turn out so well that wasn’t really rehearsed in advance.
I assume it helps the scene was shot in pieces so Mark Wahlberg and the rest of the stunt guys only had to learn a few moves at a time. It is also worth noting out the thing is choreographed for safety purposes and they aren’t just on-screen whaling on one another for funsies. Still, for how professional the whole thing looks.
If you haven’t caught the scene in full yet, you can give it a watch with added commentary from Mark Wahlberg and Winston Duke below.
Ultimately, there's no current information on how much Spenser Confidential cost to make, but Mark Wahlberg previously told Fox News its one of those in-between budget movies for the subscription streaming service. So, it has some big set piece and some smaller action sequences that clearly seem to have come together pretty rapidly. I assume it helps that action is old hat for a guy like Mark Wahlberg.
In addition, it likely helps that the stunt team has worked with Peter Berg and co. previously. Mark Wahlberg also pointed out when the camera panned to one of the many bad guys with machetes that the stuntmen are all people he has worked with before, noting,
That guy right there is an amazing stuntman. I worked with him on Planet of the Apes. I’m very familiar with the stuntment who worked on this movie. We’ve done multiple movies together starting with Lone Survivor.