Credit goes to NBC's Boomtown Site
“I’ve always played characters who are flawed in some way,” says Donnie Wahlberg, “but it was always obvious to the audience. Joel is as close to perfect on the outside as one can be. He’s smart, gifted, and professional. All of his flaws are hidden, and the challenge for him is to keep them hidden. My challenge as an actor is to communicate the struggle underneath the perfection, and to find the moments where Joel’s internal flaws are glimpsed by the audience. It’s certainly the most challenging role I’ve had so far.” Born in Boston, the eighth of nine children, Wahlberg began performing in plays and banging on pots and pans as early as the first grade. In high school, he attended a fledgling arts program and became involved in theater, acting, writing and directing plays. “I think kids in a big family have to find something to fulfill them in order to survive,” says Wahlberg. “For me, music and performing became a way of distinguishing – and expressing – myself.” At 14, Wahlberg started a band, and in a few years they went from playing at high school parties to becoming the pop music sensation, New Kids on the Block. At the height of New Kids’ popularity, Wahlberg made a decision to go in another direction, focusing on writing and producing for his younger brother, Mark. Wahlberg was also interested in pursuing an acting career. In 1996, he appeared in “Bullet” with Mickey Rourke and Tupac Shakur. That project lit a spark in him, motivating him to continue to work on his new craft. His next role as the kidnapper who was in over his head in “Ransom,” starring Mel Gibson, appealed to him because the character had heart. However, Wahlberg had to audition for director Ron Howard four times before he won the role. He followed “Ransom” with the lead role in an independent film, “Southie,” directed by John Shea. With “Southie,” he finally felt 100 percent validation as an actor. After Wahlberg read “The Sixth Sense,” he met with M. Night Shyamalan to inquire about obtaining the rights for a theatre production. The meeting led to Shyamalan’s casting Wahlberg as the psychotic patient in the opening sequence, a role he originally intended for a 13-year-old boy. He worked with “Boomtown” executive producer/writer Graham Yost in the highly lauded miniseries “Band of Brothers,” starring as 2nd Lt. C. Carwood Lipton. Following “Band of Brothers,” Wahlberg approached Yost to collaborate on another project, not knowing that Yost was already developing the role of Joel Stevens for him in “Boomtown.” Recently, Wahlberg wrapped “Dreamcatcher,” a Castle Rock feature directed by Lawrence Kasdan, co-starring with Morgan Freeman and Tom Sizemore. Wahlberg lives in Los Angeles with his family. His birthday is August 17.