Mark Wahlberg reveals details of his secret feud with Leonardo DiCaprio
In the early 90s, Mark Wahlberg was best known for the hip-hop group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, but he had ambitions beyond music. Turning to Hollywood, he planned on starting up a career in acting, but had a few obstacles along the way.
This week, the actor was a guest speaker at the LEAP Foundation Conference in Los Angeles, a leadership program about earning one's way to the highest level of success. The Boston native was a perfect pick to speak to a group of 500 high school and college students at UCLA, according to its founder, Dr. Bill Dorfman, because of his journey from inner-city Boston to the heights of Hollywood fame.
"Sixty percent of these kids come from really poor families and they’re A+ students," Dorfman explained. "What we are doing is giving them an opportunity to give them the skills they need to learn to be successful in life". The conference will also include further celebrity guest speakerss later in the week, such as Anthony Hopkins and Paula Abdul.
It was at this event that Wahlberg revealed that his first foray into the movies was almost halted by one of Hollywood's biggest stars: Leonardo DiCaprio.
At the time, DiCaprio was a rising star - after successful roles in TV shows like Parenthood and Growing Pains, followed up by a best supporting actor nomination at the Academy Awards for the 1993 film What's Eating Gilbert Grape.
However, when it came to the film The Basketball Diaries, a 1995 drama about a teenage basketball star's descent into drug addiction, he wasn't happy about Wahlberg's inclusion - and vice versa.
"He didn’t want me for the part, and I didn’t think he was right for the part," Wahlberg said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "We both had to really learn how to respect each other, and we earned it."
In 2013, Wahlberg was even more honest about the ordeal. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, he said:
“Leonardo was like, ‘Over my dead f****** body. Marky Mark’s not going to be in this f****** movie.
“Because we’d had a thing — I didn’t even realize it, [but] I was a bit of a d**k to him at a charity basketball game. So he was like, ‘This f****** a****** is not going to be in this movie.’”
Wahlberg went on to say that eventually they settled their differences on set, and even built a close bond during the shoot. Wahlberg earned some critical praise for his role in this movie, and from there his career only went up. Now he is one of Hollywood's highest paid stars.
Eventually, Wahlberg and DiCaprio were reunited on the set of Martin Scorsese's 2006 movie The Departed, for which Wahlberg was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. This was his first nomination at the Oscars, before he was nominated as a producer on The Fighter in 2011 - a film in which he also starred.
Speaking about motivating himself at this same talk, he touched on how low moments in his career were overcome due to the fact that the necessary motivation is "instilled in me". "I was always prepared just in case if I had to go back [to Boston], that I would be welcomed with open arms,” Wahlberg said.
It's strange to think that two actors squabbling on the set in the early 90s would end up being the biggest stars in the industry, but now they've both got multiple Oscar nominations to their names.