In an interview with Insider, actor and entrepreneur Mark Wahlberg expressed that it has been difficult to find a church he can attend without being subject to movie pitches from other parishioners.
“I mean, I would literally move around from church to church because I would get pitched a lot,” Wahlberg, who is Catholic, said. “Yeah. I’m not at church looking to find material. I’m trying to find some peace and quiet to be able to worship.”
Ironically, it was a priest who pitched Wahlberg the idea for his latest film, “Father Stu,” a biopic about a boxer turned priest named Stuart Long. Wahlberg compared the circumstances of the pitch to a “bad joke,” according to RNS, as he was out to dinner with “two priests and a bottle of wine.”
Wahlberg, who is more accustomed to priests approaching him to ask for donations to food drives or other church-related needs, said that it took the priest telling him the story twice before he caught a vision for it.
Stuart Long was an amateur boxer who experienced some success in Montana before suffering a career ending injury. He then moved to Los Angeles in an attempt to break into the film industry. After a run in with the law and a motorcycle accident that could have been fatal, Long turned to faith and decided to become a priest.
During Long’s ordination process, however, he was diagnosed with the rare autoimmune disease called inclusion body myositis, a condition that took his life at the age of 50 in 2014. He had served as a priest for seven years.
After experiencing little success in wooing investors, Wahlberg financed “Father Stu” himself, saying that he was inspired by Mel Gibson to do so. Gibson famously self-funded his 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ” and costarred alongside Wahlberg in “Father Stu.”
“I’m always willing to bet on myself,” Wahlberg said.
In fact, Wahlberg has founded his own production company with the vision to create more faith-based films and shows.