Mark Wahlberg’s R-Rated Passion Project Being Watered Down To A PG-13
An edited version of the Mark Wahlberg led drama Father Stu, dubbed Father Stu: Reborn, is being re-released in theaters.
In spite of making a decent box office return upon its original release, the Mark Wahlberg led biopic Father Stu is being re-released in theaters; edited down for an MPAA rating of PG-13. The new version will be called Father Stu: Reborn, according to ComicBook.com, though as of yet there’s no release date for the new cut.
Even with Oscar contenders like Mel Gibson (Braveheart) and Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) in prominent roles, the biopic was not beloved by critics.
While the extent or nature of the Father Stu edits haven’t been revealed, according to ComicBook.com’s report, it seems that it’s mostly swearing that’s been removed from the biopic, along with a number of “sexual references… scatological terms… anatomical terms,” and the like. Whether or not viewers will get the same experience as early audiences remain to be seen, but with the Mark Wahlberg film receiving a 42% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes–versus a 95% audience score–reviewers are convinced that the original experience wasn’t worth much regardless.
In spite of being a faith-based film, Father Stu has a surprising amount of profanity; much of it coming from Mark Wahlberg’s character. It’s something that caused controversy within the Catholic church even before the film’s release, leading to one church initially refusing to allow filming to occur on the premises, as reported by Aleteia. Wahlberg–who played the titular priest based on the real life Stuart Long–argued the swearing was important, because it reflected who Long was before his conversion to the Catholic faith.
For Mark Wahlberg, Father Stu was a passion project. The actor reportedly put millions of his personal wealth into the film and went through what sounds like a physical gauntlet to prepare for the role. Earlier this year the Uncharted star recounted that by the time Father Stu began filming, he was “eating 11,000 calories a day” in order to transform from “a guy who was in fighting shape” into “a guy who was wheelchair-bound, suffering from a rare muscular degenerative disease.”
Ironically in reviews of the film, Mark Wahlberg is regularly counted as being the film’s weakest link. No one doubts his acting chops, but the critical consensus seems to be that he was horribly miscast in the title role. Regardless, the film made $21.6 million on a $4 million production budget, and went on to become one of the top 10 streamed films on both Netflix and HBO Max.
Meanwhile, Mark Wahlberg has moved beyond Father Stu. His upcoming films include Our Man from Jersey–a Netflix original action thriller in which The Departed star will appear opposite Halle Berry (Gothika)–and the feel-good adventure tale Arthur the King. The latter feature is based on the 2017 book Arthur: The Dog who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home by Mikael Lindnord, about a stray dog following a Swedish adventure racing team.
Mark Wahlberg is currently reunited with his Arthur the King director Simon Cellan Jones on an Apple Studios feature, The Family Plan. Co-starring Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone), the film will fin Wahlberg’s hero bringing his family on the run when a presumably violent past begins to catch up with him.