HBO Max Orders Mark Wahlberg Docuseries ‘Wahl Street’

Published on March 10, 2020

Mark Wahlberg is one of the actors that’s proof there’s no such thing as a sure-thing movie star. He’s had more misses than hits at the box-office, and yet he’s still considered a major movie star. Wahlberg alone hasn’t opened many movies to great success the past couple of years, including Netflix’s grossly mediocre new film, Spenser Confidential, another career low point for Wahlberg. The actor hasn’t had a hit in a while, but still, he’ll make a documentary/advertisement for himself with Wahl Street.

What is Wahl Street?

The yet to launch streaming service, HBO Max, has ordered eight episodes of Wahl Street. The limited series will follow Wahlberg as he juggles his businesses, including Wahlburgers, and movie career. According to reps from HBO Max, “viewers will learn about his successes and failures and glean powerful business and life lessons while also getting to know the cast of colorful characters that make up Wahlberg’s real-life entourage.” 

Wahlburgers and Movies

Kevin Hart recently made a similar series for Netflix, Kevin Hart: Don’t F*ck this Up, which had a similar approach to his business and lifestyle. Often it just felt like an advertisement for Kevin Hart, not exactly an intimate or particularly fun look at the comedian’s life. There’s only so much they can show and say about a major movie star. Edges always feel softened, and most likely, Wahlberg won’t show his edges on the show. Maybe we’re wrong, but the best documentaries are warts and all portraits. It’s doubtful a show called Wahl Street will dig that deep, but maybe it will. 

The Ups and Downs

Wahlberg believes the show will show him at his lowest, though. The actor and singer’s career has been a rollercoaster ride of huge highs and lows. According to Wahlberg, he wants to show what’s real in Wahl Street

“We’re documenting the ups, the downs, the hits and the misses. It’s all the real stuff that’s happening while I’m growing my businesses. We’re pulling back the curtain and hopefully it’s an opportunity to inspire other entrepreneurs.”

Wahlberg’s production company, Unrealistic Ideas, is behind the series. Wahl Street will be one of the more high-profile projects at HBO Max, although their crown jewel in the making is without question the Friends reunion. According to HBO Max’s vice president of original non-fiction, Jennifer O’Connell, the Wahlberg series will be “intimate”: 

“This series will be an intimate exploration behind the drive that makes Mark Wahlbergone of the most unique stars in entertainment. Mark’s entrepreneurial spirit is fun to watch and we hope to show both the struggle and triumphs of what it takes to succeed.”

What’s Up, Mark?

The last few years have been bizarre in Wahlberg’s career. He starred in some terrible Transformers sequels. He made a couple of strong movies with Peter Berg, but their last two efforts, Mile 22 and Spenser Confidential, pale in comparison to their other collaborations. Their Netflix movie, in particular, is just mind-bogglingly bland. 

Outside of the Berg and Michael Bay movies, Wahlberg gave an excellent reserved performance in All the Money in the World, but it underperformed at the box-office. Instant Family, too, was an exceptionally good comedy, but it wasn’t a Wahlberg-sized hit. For whatever reason, the actor’s movies haven’t been resonating with audiences that well these last few years.

A part of the problem is the quality of some of those movies. Rarely does Mark Wahlberg make great movies anymore, even though his career in the ‘90s is defined by them. Box-office appears more important than quality sometimes watching his body-of-work. He’s making too many safe, middle-of-the-road movies that just don’t compel people to rush to the theater as they would to see The Departed or The Fighter.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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