(Credit: 20th Century Fox)
The career of Mark Wahlberg is littered with widespread success and a cementing of his position as one of the breakout performers in Hollywood over the last three decades. From his early roles in classics such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights to his effort in The Fighter, it’s clear that Wahlberg was always destined to be far more than just Marky Mark.
However, like most of the best actors in the movie industry, Wahlberg has had his fair share of missteps along the road to stardom. But of them all, it appears that one sticks out more than any other for the film icon, a 2008 thriller that was at the end of widespread criticism upon its release.
M Night Shyamalan’s film The Happening focuses on a strange phenomenon that sees several people suddenly commit suicide on a mass level on the East Coast of the United States. Wahlberg’s performance was heavily criticised, although many pointed out that he felt out of place in the movie, as though it were the film’s narrative rather than the actor that caused the issue on screen.
In a press conference for The Fighter, Wahlberg explained how he does not have the fondest memories of the movie. “We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie, and it was a bad movie that I did,” the actor explained. “She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to… I don’t want to tell you what movie”.
Evidently, Wahlberg felt it rude to call out Shyamalan’s film but then followed up, not being able to resist saying how bad he thought it was. He continued: “Alright, The Happening. Fuck it. It is what it is. Fucking trees, man. The plants. Fuck it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook.”
It was the plants, as Wahlberg alludes to, that release toxins in the film that cause humans to commit suicide, but even within the realm of science fiction, this mode of narrative failed to impress. If that weren’t bad enough, then the dialogue of The Happening certainly was and seemed to deliver an almost comical tone rather than a thrilling encounter as was likely intended.
Clearly, Shyamalan did not follow up on the success of The Sixth Sense and Signs, and it was a movie that Wahlberg wishes he never agreed to take on. Check out the trailer for The Happening below.