After the success of Spenser Confidential, Mark Wahlberg is heading back to Netflix for another action movie. The Oscar-nominee will star in Our Man From Jersey, a spy film about a guy described as a “blue collar 007.”
Deadline brings the news about Our Man From Jersey, the pitch for which was acquired by Netflix for seven figures. The film will be produced by Wahlberg and his longtime collaborator Stephen Levinson. The two first worked together on HBO’s In Treatment, and have gone on to executive produce Entourage, How to Make It In America, and tons of Wahlberg’s films. Deadline isn’t clear about who exactly came up with the concept for this new movie, but it was either the two as a pair or Levinson by himself.
Details about the plot are scarce – we assume it’ll be Wahlberg putting his tough-guy spin on a spy thriller – but David Guggenheim, who wrote the Ryan Reynolds/Denzel Washington thriller Safe House, the Kurt Russell Santa Claus movie The Christmas Chronicles, and created the Kiefer Sutherland series Designated Survivor, won the writing job and will tackle the screenplay.
Wahlberg will never play James Bond – wouldn’t that be kind of amazing, though? I’ll be spending the rest of the day picturing it – but it sounds like he and his collaborators are pulling a Raiders of the Lost Ark here and coming up with their own take on a Bond movie instead. This is the type of thing film fans are always clamoring for: instead of endlessly mining existing intellectual property, we’re hungry for people to tell their own stories and make something new. So at least conceptually, I have to give props to this project, while at the same time expressing some hesitation about it.
Some of my hesitation comes from Wahlberg’s involvement, who, while being an actor who shines in the right roles, isn’t exactly my favorite person on the planet. (If someone has a “hate crimes” section on their Wikipedia page, something went wrong somewhere.)
But most of it comes from Netflix, which seems to have perfected the art of making movies that are just entertaining enough that you keep watching, but rarely great enough that you think twice about them afterward. Wahlberg’s Spenser Confidential is the second-highest watched Netflix original film behind Extraction, but with Netflix’s new measuring metrics, a viewer only needs to play two minutes of something for it to count as a “watch.” What’s their incentive to be better when “good enough” so often results in numbers they can tout to investors?
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