It was a cold and rainy day in New York City and I had one of the biggest first world problems known to New Yorkers.
I had to get across midtown Manhattan during rush hour, no small feat – especially when you’re black and getting a taxi is damn near impossible during that time of day.
I had a 3:30 call time to interview Mark Wahlberg and the cast of Lone Survivor, an epic tale of the heroes of Navy Seal Team 10, who in 2005 were sent on a very important mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd. It was their mission that allowed me to keep my calm. To appreciate being stuck in traffic just a little bit more, because these men went through hell for our freedom.
When I walked on the set, Mark was chilling, laid back in his chair. He stood up and shook my hand and before the cameras started rolling, he asked me about my Knicks hat and we had a brief conversation about basketball, Boston sports and hip-hop. So once the cameras started rolling, and after seeing his heroic performance in this film, I asked him if he considered himself the best rapper-turned-actor.
It was a silly question, meant to stir up a laugh, but he went into thought and gave me an answer that led to my friends and I having an epic debate over drinks: Who is the best rapper-turned-actor?
“I’m the best white rapper turned actor. Eminem did a great job in 8 Mile, but he only made one movie. So I definitely have that title. Will (Smith) really does his thing. I think if Tupac was alive he would have been doing some amazing things in front of the camera.”
Adding, “His life was cut way too short. I would have loved to see him grow as an actor and artist.”
It’s no denying that Mark is one of the best rappers-turned-actors and he makes a strong case with his performance in Lone Survivor.
His respect for the art of acting very high, he even gave a huge honor to the troops, saying:
“They are there to engage with the enemy, and that’s what they want! That’s what makes them so unique and different.”
Lone Survivor in is theaters everywhere Christmas Day. Watch my interview with Mark Wahlberg up above.