How Leonardo DiCaprio helped Mark Wahlberg land a role in ‘Fear’
(Credit: Netflix)

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How Leonardo DiCaprio helped Mark Wahlberg land a role in 'Fear'

A veritable blast from the past has landed on Netflix’s top ten films chart. The 1996 Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon psychological thriller is rather disturbing in its premise, unlike most of the feel-good titles that make their way to the top of the streaming platform most days.

Directed by James Foley and released in 1996, Fear might not have soared to the highest echelons of critical acclaim. However, it undeniably served as a platform for Wahlberg to showcase his burgeoning talent. Currently, it is enjoying its time at the eighth spot on Netflix’s top ten list of films in the US.

Fear follows the story of a teenage girl named Nicole, played by Witherspoon, who becomes entangled in a toxic relationship with an older man named David, portrayed by Wahlberg. As their romance intensifies, David’s possessive and aggressive tendencies begin to surface, leading to a series of terrifying events that threaten Nicole and her family. Tensions escalate as Nicole fights to break free from David’s grip, culminating in a violent climax.

However, it is interesting to note that Wahlberg, a relative newcomer back then, got the role because his The Basketball Diaries, Leonardo DiCaprio, pushed for him.

How did Leonardo DiCaprio help Mark Wahlberg land a role in Fear?

In the glitzy, cutthroat world of Hollywood, where egos clash like titans and ambition reign supreme, it’s refreshing to stumble upon tales of camaraderie and goodwill. One such anecdote involves the unlikely pairing of heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio and erstwhile rapper-turned-actor Mark Wahlberg and how their serendipitous connection led to Wahlberg landing a role that would mark a pivotal moment in Wahlberg’s acting career.

Alternatively, the story of how Wahlberg secured his role in Fear is a testament to the power of networking in Tinseltown. Wahlberg revealed this to Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast.

Fresh off their collaboration in The Basketball Diaries, DiCaprio, already on the ascent to superstardom, saw something in Wahlberg that caught his eye. Recommending him to director James Foley for the role of David, DiCaprio sparked a chain of events that would alter the trajectory of Wahlberg’s career.

Initially met with scepticism from Foley, who had reservations about Wahlberg’s suitability for the part, the budding actor was granted an audition for a smaller role. However, as fate would have it, Wahlberg’s undeniable screen presence left Foley in awe. Wahlberg reminisced, “Next thing I know [Foley] was like, ‘whoah.’ He calls the studio, and he’s like, ‘Listen, if you don’t give Mark Wahlberg this part, I’m not doing the movie.'”

You can stream the R-rated psychological thriller Fear on Netflix, but catch the trailer first: