Mel Gibson says he was not surprised that Mark Wahlberg met opposition by making ‘Father Stu’: ‘People want it’

For Mel Gibson, feeling passion for a faith-based project in Hollywood hits close to home.

The actor has teamed up with Mark Wahlberg to star in “Father Stu,” which tells the story of an amateur boxing priest (Wahlberg) in Montana who suffers from a degenerative and incurable muscle disease.

The story is based on the real father Stuart Long, who relied on the faith in difficult times. Long died in 2014 at the age of 50. Wahlberg, a devout Catholic, also works as a producer for the biopic.

Gibson, who produced, directed and co-wrote the 2004 Bible film “The Passion of the Christ,” told Fox News Digital that it was an easy task to tackle “Father Stu.”


Mel Gibson og Mark Wahlberg deltager i fotoopkaldet Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images“data-src =”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5Nw–/https://s.yimg/u2/u/api/api/ SW7qcp7kWB4CRXT0EHzlfw– ~ B / aD03MjA7dz0xMjgwO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u / https: //

Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg participate in the photo call for “Father Stu” on April 1, 2022 in West Hollywood, California. Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

“You know, I had a pretty great experience with ‘The Passion,'” the 66-year-old explained. “It was an interesting journey to understand that there is a real thirst for that kind of content out there. People want it and they respond well to it. So it’s a privilege to be a part of that delivery.”

“I think ‘Father Stu’ offers it,” the star continued. “It’s a little different. I do not really want to call it a faith-based film, but I think it hits all the cravings that society wants. But at the same time it is not to preach to the choir. It has F-bombs., So you have to do those things to get to the jewel. “

When it came to bringing “Far Stu” to life, there were some challenges along the way. Wahlberg, 50, has previously noted that he spent six “slow years” trying to get the film made. And when the time finally came, the project was filmed in 30 days during the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. Like Gibson with “Passion,” Wahlberg self-financed his film with the help of two collaborators.

Wahlberg also described how he met opposition not only from the studios to make “Father Stu,” but also from the church for its use of the F-word. The actor said he wanted to share an uplifting message while staying true to Long’s journey from “self-destruction to redemption.”


Gibson, who played Wahlberg’s father, said he was not surprised by the opposition his teammate faced over the years.

“I think we are really lucky that the material was put in the hands of a very competent and talented young writer who was able to take the story from the side to the screen,” he said. “I think that’s what makes the difference. It’s about the performance and how it comes to life. You laugh through most of the film until you cry. And the reason you laugh and cry is, that it strikes the truth. “

Gibson described how impressed he was with Wahlberg’s physical transformation to play Long. Wahlberg, known for telling about his daily non-nonsense fitness regimen, gained 30 pounds by eating 11,000 calories a day for up to eight months. He packed on the kilos by eating a dozen eggs, a dozen pieces of bacon, two baked potatoes, a Porterhouse steak, two bowls of white rice as well as drinking a glass of olive oil.

“He hit his mark,” the Oscar winner laughed at Wahlberg’s commitment. “He ate everything in sight for a month. And mind you, it was only a 30-day recording. He was going to start eating peanut butter sandwiches and filling himself with spaghetti, steak and cups of lard.”

“I do not know how he did it,” Gibson continued. “I do not have to try to do that. I just have to live normally and I air out. But he had to make an effort. And then he managed to get it all off, which I can not do no matter what I try. But I want to ask him for advice. “

Gibson said he is grateful that Wahlberg was successful in publishing “Father Stu,” a story that offers plenty of life lessons that audiences can identify with.

“He looked at himself and who he was as a person,” Gibson said of the real Long. “He came to accept his mortality and what he could do. You know we will all be affected by something, either an illness or just a terrible, unfortunate accident. We are all going to experience something that will affect us emotionally or physically. So how do you handle those things? How do you heal? That’s the lesson for me. “

In February, Wahlberg explained to Fox Nation why “Father Stu” is needed now.


Mark Wahlberg besøger All Saints Chapel på Carroll College i Helena, Montana.  <span class=Food Hayward / Getty Images for Sony Pictures“data-src =”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5Nw–/https://s.yimg/u/u/api/api/api RpqcqEmMKcs7cKLr3xdbYA– ~ B / aD03MjA7dz0xMjgwO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u / https: //>

Mark Wahlberg visits the All Saints Chapel at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. Food Hayward / Getty Images for Sony Pictures

“People must have faith and hope,” he said at the time. “I just knew I was going to make this movie, and this was my calling, and this was my mission. And now I need it more than ever.”

“Hopefully it will do some really important work and help a lot of people,” he continued. “It’s definitely a turning point for me in my life … I need to stop focusing so much on Mark and start doing a lot more work for God and for less fortunate people.”

When Wahlberg was asked about the film’s message to the audience, Wahlberg said it was simply about “not giving up.”

“God will not give up on you,” the actor encouraged. “Luckily you do not give up on yourself.”

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