Mark Wahlberg Arthur the King Interview
(Photo Credit: Carlos Rodriguez)

Interview: Mark Wahlberg Talks Arthur the King’s Incredible True Story

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Arthur the King star Mark Wahlberg about the inspirational drama. Wahlberg discusses his relationship with adventure racer Mikael Lindnord, acting alongside a dog, and the film’s physicality. Lionsgate Films will release Arthur the King in theaters on March 15, 2024.

Tyler Treese: This movie seemed very physically intensive. You’re running, climbing, zip lining, biking, rowing. You stay in great shape, but how physically draining was the filming of this?

Mark Wahlberg: It was tough. I mean, it’s definitely one of the more physically demanding movies that I’ve been a part of. I knew that going in, but I think that was part of the draw. [I] didn’t know much about adventure racing, so to see the levels of suffering that these guys and gals are willing to go through to win – or even finish — a race of this magnitude. It was very impressive.

The only thing that I was really terrified of was the spandex. I’m was not a big spandex guy before this. So having to shave my legs and not knowing if this is going to come back at all… I didn’t know what to expect.

That’s a challenge.

Mark Wahlberg: [laughing] It wasn’t that big of a deal. It was like another thing that I could overcome. Another fear.

For the back half of this movie, nearly every scene that you’re in is with a dog. How unique was that experience? Because you wind up having these highly emotional scenes where your only scene partner is a dog?

Oddly enough, I feel like we had amazing chemistry. We were fully connected on an emotional level throughout these moments. It felt like Ukai was so intuitive, and he could just find these deeply emotional moments — whether it’s just in silence or just with a look.

It felt like we connected on a really personal level, which sometimes you don’t do with other actors. It was quite a unique experience in that regard. For me, the movie really starts [with] the race to save Arthur. Once Michael decides he’s gonna throw the race and save Arthur. That — for me — that’s the film.

So getting him home and out of the country safely, then getting the medical care that he needs… I felt like that was the movie. And to see really talented filmmakers and his trainer get him to that place — and to feel like we had such a personal connection — was very special.

I was curious if you had the chance to actually speak with the real-life inspiration, the Swedish athlete Mikael Lindnord, for this film?

Yes. Oh yeah. He was there the entire time. He and I would go out and kayak and hang out. And you know, it was great because he’s such an amazing athlete. I think for most athletes, the impulse is to push you as hard as you can to see what you’re capable of doing — especially on an athletic level.

But for him, he really understood the importance of the performance and the process of making a movie. So he was always there to help whenever you needed him and would also give you the space to kind of do your thing. You know, as a Hollywood actor pretending to be an adventure racer. He was fantastic. He and I spoke just the other day, and we’re hoping that we can do lots of stuff together.

I’ve always gravitated towards the true stories, and to be able to handle it with the respect and the sensitivity that it deserves. Making sure that I’m doing them justice, and that I’m making them proud, is the most important. And I would say that was the case with that movie, with Father Stu, with Joe Bell, with Lone Survivor, with Perfect Storm, with Invincible. Any of the movies I’ve made that were based on true stories were always of the highest importance for me.

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