Mark Wahlberg Will Always Love Boston — & Hate Spray Tans

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Okay, we know (obviously) that actors are not their roles. Sharon Stone did not stab anyone with an icepick, Jennifer Lawrence doesn't have to fight for her life, and Anthony Hopkins most likely won't be eating anyone's faces. Yet, with that in mind, Mark Wahlberg is a really, really tough dude. It's hard to separate the Boston lilt, the confident but slightly intimidating posture, and the intensity from, say, his characters in The Fighter or Boogie Nights.

So, it is Wahlberg's tough and toned physicality (seriously, he could totally bench-press this writer one-handed) that takes center-stage for his new movie, Pain and Gain. Wahlberg plays a familiar role: A bulked-up bro with a lot bubbling beneath his super-conditioned exterior. In real life, it's hard to separate the brawny Wahlberg from the characters he plays: He swears just as much, looks just as handsome, and quips just as sharply as any role we've seen him in. Which is why, at the Cinema Society premiere of Pain and Gain (which was fittingly hosted by Men's Fitness), it was particularly poignant to see Wahlberg. He served as a reminder that, hey, Bostonians are an indomitable people. "I wasn't going to come tonight," Wahlberg mentioned. "But then I thought, 'F*** that.' We've got to keep pushing on."

Wahlberg continued to give good face despite the somber mood, which he acknowledged by explaining how passionate he was about his new film, directed by action impresario Michael Bay. "This movie is so original and so different, and it's such an amazing looking movie. It's such a fascinating story, I feel like it'll appeal to both men and women, young and old." The film, set in the neon-drenched Miami of the '80s, isn't a typical Transformers-esque Bay movie (though, Wahlberg is working on that, too). Instead, lush visuals and hyper-saturated colors take the place of explosions (though, there are those too, just not as much), and Bay approaches the story of three men who go bad with an indie sensitivity, but a Bay flair for style. For Wahlberg, it's what sells him on the flick. "Most of the time I'm trying to convince an audience (when I don't necessarily believe it myself) that they should go spend their hard-earned money to go see a movie because maybe it's not that good. But when you have something that's really good and really original and different like Ted or like this, it makes it very easy for me to do my job." The get-fit regimen, however, wasn't exactly what he was expecting.

Do you have any Entourage updates for the fans?
"Hopefully we'll be shooting at the end of the summer as soon as everyone's schedules are freed up. We've been working on it for a long time. I'm glad it's all starting to come together."

What's the weirdest thing you've ever had to do to stay in shape?
"I don't do anything really weird, in respect to gym routines. But, the weirdest thing and the most uncomfortable thing I've done was for this movie, having to get a spray tan every week. I don't like the sun, it's not good for me, but Michael insisted I be as tan as possible. So, he'd make me get a spray tan. I'd do it on my balcony of my hotel room which was on the 17th floor! You would think you'd be free from all the cameras and paparazzi, and there I was getting photographed in my underwear getting a spray tan. Not a good look."

Did you do the whole gym, tan, laundry routine like the Jersey Shore?
"I didn't have to do my own laundry. Thankfully, I could send that out."

Photo: Gregory Pace/BEImages.