A fine example of post-boy band survival, Donnie Wahlberg founding member of '80s pop fad New Kids on the Block is on an acting tear. He's done The Sixth Sense, HBO's Band of Brothers and co-stars in Stephen King's Dreamcatcher next year. This Sunday, he debuts in Boomtown (airing at 10 pm/ET on NBC), which TV Guide's Matt Roush calls "the fall's best new series." Talk about the right stuff!
But why didn't Wahlberg kick off his acting career sooner? Pop tarts like Lance Bass, Mandy Moore and Britney Spears didn't stop singing before going thespian. "I honestly didn't want to do it under those circumstances," he says. "There's too many actors who've been bustin' their butt just to have me use New Kids on the Block as a free pass to become a TV or movie star.
"The actor has always been in me," he insists. "It just was finding the appropriate time to give it a real go. When New Kids petered out, I took a year off to get my head straight, then started pounding the pavement and getting rejected until Ron Howard gave me a shot in [1996's] Ransom."
At 33, Wahlberg's more mature than many of his Hollywood contemporaries, who feel fame entitles them to tout le monde. "My dad didn't give me a lot of advice growing up," he muses. "He didn't give me much of anything growing up, but he was a good man. When I first told my dad I was going to join a band, he said, 'Donnie, if you change, I'm gonna kick your ass.' So I went on a mission to stay focused and entrenched in reality.
"I can't live by record sales, success, the amount of fan mail or media attention you get," Walhberg adds. "Those things come and go, even for the biggest stars in the world. If they have to deal with that, I had better be prepared... If you're not, what do you do when your fame is fleeting and fading away? Go out and get arrested or do something to put yourself back in the spotlight? That's not for me. I don't mind not being in the spotlight. I actually quite enjoy it."
Click here to see a clip from Donnie Wahlberg's interview with the TV Guide Channel.
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