Mark Wahlberg: 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' a 'cut above'

Bruce Kirkland, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:48 PM ET

Despite working in Hollywood movies since 1993, Mark Wahlberg never made a sequel before committing to Ted 2 with pal Seth MacFarlane. But now he is also signed up for three Transformers movies with director Michael Bay, starting with Age of Extinction.

“I think there is something in the contract there,” Wahlberg teases this week in a telephone interview. “But look, the only way it’s going to happen is if Michael wants to do it again, people enjoy seeing me in this one and they want to see it again! So it is a possibility (to do two more Transformers) — if we could do our thing again the way we did it the first time.”

Transformers: Age of Extinction is set for release June 27.

“I think people are going to be surprised how good it is,” Wahlberg says. “Not only is this going to be very different, I think it’s going to be a cut above the other ones. I think you have an emotional anchor — and the script was very well thought out. It was obviously a conscious decision and effort to say: ‘OK, we’re going to change it up and make this fresh and different. And they know what the stakes are. It is a clean slate.”

While some actors, including Megan Fox, have been replaced over the course of the past instalments in the series, Age of Extinction is the first of the four Transformers movies to undergo a wholesale cast change. In addition to showcasing Wahlberg as the new human hero — instead of Shia LaBeouf — the new movie features Nicola Peltz as Wahlberg’s on-screen daughter and Jack Reynor as her race car driver boyfriend.

In support roles, there is a rogues gallery of Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, T. J. Miller, Titus Welliver and Chinese singer and actress Li Bingbing. The casting of Li as “the CEO of the Chinese Transformers” reflects the movie’s mega-funding: Age of Extinction is a co-production of the U.S. and China.


A still from the new Transformers movie

Meanwhile, Michael Bay stayed in the director’s chair and Ehren Kruger remained as the screenwriter who re-invents the lives of these Hasbro toys for the big screen. So there will be more of the same for Transformers fans, just with different human characters. Canadian-born actor Peter Cullen, a Transformers legend, returns as the voice of Optimus Prime.

The story in this new sequel is set four years after the end of Dark of the Moon, when the Autobots helped humanity defeat the Decepticons and save Chicago, not to mention planet Earth. Four years is movie time, of course. Only three years have passed in real time since Dark of the Moon generated $1.1 billion in worldwide box office, second in 2011 only to the final Harry Potter movie.

The plot of Age of Extinction revolves around Wahlberg’s character, who is a mechanic and inventor in Texas. When he salvages a battered truck that turns out to be a Transformer, “all hell breaks loose,” Wahlberg says of the plot.

His daughter is caught in the line of fire. “And there is a lot more to go,” Wahlberg says. “It was actually important to establish the new characters, the new people in the movie, just give them that taste.”

After all, there are two more sequels to come.

bruce.kirkland@sunmedia.ca

 


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