Despite its incredible success at the box office and the Academy Awards, actor Mark Wahlberg says he regrets his role in the 1997 hit “Boogie Nights.”
“I just always hope that God is a movie fan and also forgiving, because I’ve made some poor choices in my past,” Wahlberg, a devout Roman Catholic, said Friday in Chicago alongside Cardinal Blase Cupich, according to the Chicago Tribune.
When asked if there’s a particular past project for which he’s sought forgiveness, Wahlberg admitted: “’Boogie Nights’ is up there at the top of the list.”
It makes sense the 46-year-old actor would regret starring in the R-rated flick, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, given he portrayed porn star Dirk Diggler.
Wahlberg said his own troubled past — including his prison stint for assaulting a Vietnamese immigrant — might make it easier for violent youth in Chicago to relate to him and see how he was able to turn his own life around for the better.
While he said philanthropic work is important, Wahlberg noted nothing compares to actually developing relationships with at-risk kids:
“I’ve never been shy about sharing my past and the bad decisions I’ve made and being affiliated with gangs, being incarcerated, so absolutely I think they can identify with me on a personal level, and that’s why I’ve continued to try to do as much as I can to help young people.
It’s one thing to give money, or to start programs, but to be there and be able to talk to them, and tell them there is someone who has been through the same things they are going through and was able to turn their life around, and turn it into a big positive. That’s always important.”
Wahlberg acknowledged his remorse for the mistakes he’s made in the past, describing his time in prison as “a big wake-up call for me.”
“A lot of people go to God when they get into trouble. When I heard the jail doors close behind me … I knew that was just the beginning for me,” he said. “I feel remorse when I’ve made mistakes. If I could go back and change a lot of things that I did, I would. I look for ways to give back.”
In 2012, Wahlberg told CNN he goes to church “every day,” noting at the time that his faith has “allowed me to overcome a lot of things.”