Mark Wahlberg’s ‘Father Stu’ Weight Gain Wasn’t His Only Body Transformation for a Film

Mark Wahlberg has enjoyed a long career in Hollywood. With his role in the film Father Stu, the actor brings the real-life story of Father Stuart Long to life, from his beginnings as a champion boxer to his calling to become a priest.

Wahlberg had to step into not only Father Stu’s personality but also the physical aspect of the role. The actor took on the challenge of gaining 30 pounds to accurately depict the main character in the last few years of life.

‘Father Stu’ is the true story of boxer Stuart Long

Mark Wahlberg Father Stu diet
Mark Wahlberg attends a screening of ‘Father Stu’ on April 4, 2022 | Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Sony Pictures

The movie Father Stu is a biopic that tells the life story of Stuart Long, a boxer-turned-priest played by Wahlberg. Long started adulthood as a boxer in Montana, where he won the state Gold Gloves heavyweight championship in 1985. However, a jaw injury ended his boxing career. After that, he moved to Los Angeles and tried his hand at acting, but that didn’t work out either.

Long had a near-death experience when he was in a motorcycle accident in 1992. Afterward, he decided to marry his girlfriend and converted to Roman Catholicism for her. But they ended up not getting married. Still, it led him to his calling of being a priest, and he succeeded in becoming ordained in 2007.

Mark Wahlberg gained 30 pounds to take on the role

Actors often need to gain or lose weight to play characters. For his starring role in Father Stu, Mark Wahlberg had to pack on about 30 pounds to portray the priest near the end of his life while battling a rare autoimmune disease.

“The weight gain was bad,” Wahlberg told Insider. “It isn’t something I would want to jump at doing again.”

To gain that much weight, the actor ate 7,000 calories a day. He got those calories from foods such as eggs, steak, and bacon.

“A dozen eggs, dozen pieces of bacon, two bowls of white rice, a cup of olive oil to start the morning,” he explained. “More eggs, a porterhouse steak. That’s seven to eight meals a day of this.”

During the last four weeks of the diet, he added 3,000 more calories a day for a total of 11,000 calories.

Wahlberg took on the weight-gain challenge to make sure the audience focused on the physical nature of Stu’s past.

“Everything about Stu was predicated on his physicality. To see him lose that but to gain the strength of a thousand men spiritually, it was unbelievable. I wanted the audience to see that and understand it,” he explained.

Last year, while visiting Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, the actor opened up about the weight gain and reportedly regretted it, according to E! News.

“Unfortunately, I had to consume, for two weeks, 7,000 calories, and then for another two weeks, 11,000 calories,” he shared. “And it was fun for about an hour. It’s such a hard, physical thing to do. Losing weight, you just kind of tough it out—you just don’t eat, and exercise. And this, even when you’re full, I would wake up after a meal and have another meal. I was eating every three hours. It was not fun.”

The start told Fallon gaining and losing weight is more challenging with age. “Once the metabolism starts to slow down, it gets really difficult,” he said. “I was trying to get this movie made for six years, we only had 30 days to shoot it, and so I wanted to really make it happen.”

Mark Wahlberg lost 10 pounds in 5 days for a different role

Wahlberg is no stranger to changing his physique for a role. The actor told ET he got into shape to play a former police detective in Netflix film Spenser Confidential. “This is our fifth movie together but all four movies that we made together I was oddly out of shape and eating what I want and drinking what I wanted,” Wahlberg said of working with director Peter Berg.

Wahlberg revealed each film with Berg demanded a different physique. “We did Lone Survivor right after 2 Guns and before that I did Pain and Gain, so I was really heavy and kinda bloated by the time we got to Lone Survivor,” he said. “And then we did Deepwater Horizon where I was getting as heavy as possible drinking beer and fried food to play a guy who worked on an oil rig. Then we did Patriots’ Day where I was limping around, a cop who was kinda out of shape.”

For Spenser Confidential, Berg wanted Wahlberg “ripped.”

“And I said, ‘OK, no problem,'” Wahlberg said. “So I literally went clean dry for five months, trained like a crazy person.”

“I just did a bone broth and a fast and a cleanse and I literally lost 10 pounds in five days. I lost five percent body fat and I lost 20 points of visceral fat literally in five days,” he added. “Just bone broth and then steamed vegetables after the first three days and then a little bit of protein at night and that was it.”

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