Mark Wahlberg talks about faith and his new heartwarming movie

3 mins read
Arthur the King
Mark Wahlberg as Michael Light in Arthur the King. Credit: Carlos Rodriguez / Courtesy of Lionsgate

As a Catholic actor, Mark Wahlberg wants to encourage others to encounter God.

“I think, hopefully, all the work that I’m doing outside and with the platform that I now have is to continue to do my part and encourage people to have a relationship — and work harder to pursue a relationship — with God,” the 52-year-old star told Our Sunday Visitor.

He spoke ahead of the release of his new movie, “Arthur the King,” on March 15. Based on a true story, the film follows pro adventure racer Michael Light (Wahlberg), who befriends a ragged street dog (Ukai) while leading a team of athletes (Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel and Ali Suliman) across the Dominican Republic in the Adventure Racing World Championship.

As his team runs, climbs, bikes, ziplines and kayaks to the finish line — covering a span of 435 miles in 10 days — Light evolves from being obsessed with winning a race to realizing what true success means, with some help from his new, furry friend, “Arthur.”

Wahlberg shared what he hopes Catholic viewers will take away from “Arthur the King.”

“Many miracles happen within this movie,” he said, before adding that he hopes it will not only warm people’s hearts but also inspire and encourage people to perform acts of kindness.

Wahlberg also serves as a producer for the movie, which is based on the book “Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home” by Swedish athlete Mikael Lindnord. The film, bursting with adventure and awe-inspiring scenery, captures the transformation of Wahlberg’s character as he learns to focus on what’s most important in life.

The importance of faith and family

For his part, Wahlberg shared how his faith transforms him as a Catholic actor today.

“I’ve always said I hope God is a movie fan because I make many different kinds of movies,” he said. “But I’ve always, as an artist, tried to not restrict myself.”

At the same time, he said, he wants to focus on being a father and a husband.

“As a parent and a husband, I can’t help but factor in all of those things when deciding on the roles that I’m playing,” he said. “Now that I’m older, I’m a lot more selective, but I like to challenge myself as an actor as well.”

Simu Liu as Leo, Nathalie Emmanuel as Olivia, Mark Wahlberg as Michael and Ali Suliman as Chik in Arthur The King. Photo Credit: Carlos Rodriguez

Wahlberg identified one of his biggest challenges as sacrificing time spent with family. He and his wife, Rhea Durham, share four children together: Ella, Michael, Brendan and Grace.

“I think the most difficult part of being on location is being apart from my family,” he said. “Obviously I’m trying to provide for my family and pursue my artistic passion. So it’s a balance, you know? But that time away is really difficult.”

“That’s the biggest challenge that I face,” the actor, who suffered from a knee injury while filming “Arthur the King,” said. “The physical stuff, we could deal with that — that pain goes away — but you don’t get the time back that you sacrifice.”

The actor, who is guiding Catholics through Lent this year with the Catholic prayer app Hallow, emphasized that he is looking forward to spending Easter with his family.

“They’re going to come and visit me while I’m away working, and I will celebrate my son’s birthday,” he said, likely referring to his 17-year-old son Michael, who was born in March.

Recalling ‘Father Stu’

The actor called Easter one of his favorite days to celebrate.

“I call it a holiday because it is a holy day,” he said, “and it will be a beautiful celebration.”

Wahlberg, who has spoken publicly about his faith for years, recently shared that his role in a 2022 movie, where he played a Montana boxer who became a priest, changed his career trajectory.

Simu Liu as Leo and Mark Wahlberg as Michael in Arthur The King. Photo Credit: Carlos Rodriguez

“I made a movie called ‘Father Stu,’ and that was my love letter to the Lord,” Wahlberg revealed during ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Feb. 14. “And then, it was like, okay, well that was just the entry point. Now, you know, you have to continue to get people closer to the Lord and get people to work on themselves as well.”

Viewers can stay updated on his latest film, “Arthur the King,” ahead of its March 15 release by visiting the movie’s website and following social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter.

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor.