By Andy Drozdziak
Catholic actors and Hollywood stars Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson have shared hopes that their new faith-based film, Father Stu, will inspire Catholic men to ‘open their hearts.’
Speaking to popular American podcast ‘Pints With Aquinas’, Wahlberg told presenter Matt Fradd that the story is compelling.
“Something about the story just got my attention,” he said. “I couldn’t find any reason not to make the movie. Stu was such a colourful guy.”
The Ted star plays former boxer Stuart Long in Father Stu, which will be released in the US on 13th April and in the UK on 13th May. It is the true story of a man who becomes a Catholic priest after suffering health scares and personal struggles.
He hopes that Catholic man especially will relate to the film. “God’s never going to give up on you,” he said. “Keep going-open your arms and your heart. We all need to come together just to do a little bit more.”
The film shows how, after surviving a terrible motorcycle accident, amateur boxer Stuart Long decides that he is called to be a Catholic priest. Despite a devastating health crisis and the skepticism of Church officials and his estranged parents (Mel Gibson and Jacki Weaver), Long pursues his vocation unswervingly, going on to inspire and build faith for countless Catholics.
Wahlberg revealed that he gained over two stone in six weeks for the role. “(His weight) was such an integral part of Stu’s journey. Most of his life was predicated on his physical prowess, so for him to lose that and gain so much spiritually was an integral part of the story,” he said.
Wahlberg spoke of the inspiration of The Passion of the Christ director Mel Gibson, who also features in the film. “I really took a page out of his book,” he said, referring to Gibson’s financing and production of The Passion. “I was constantly asking for advice. He also has a lot of real-life experience. He did a fantastic job.”
Gibson himself said that, despite initial reservations, the Father Stu script was ‘emotionally effective, very expertly penned.’ “It wasn’t a film which was preaching to the choir,” he said. “It wasn’t over saccharine and had a big splash of reality.”
His Fox News interview on Father Stu ended abruptly when Gibson’s publicist interrupted Jesse Watters after the host asked Gibson about Will Smith’s slap at the Oscars.
Picture: Maia Collins