"I have a lot of talented friends, and a lot of people in my life who aren't talented but think that because we made Entourage a success, we can make them a success," he says. "That's not how it works, but you have to pass on what you can to your friends and family."
It's hard to get Wahlberg to talk about something that doesn't involve his kids and his fiancée, Rhea Durham.
"He's turned a new leaf from that old image," says "Payne" co-star Mila Kunis. "I was expecting this kind of bad boy from the Calvin Klein ads, but he's all about family now."
Yet he's not above milking the tough-guy persona. This month, he threatened to punch SNL's Andy Samberg over a sketch in which Samberg did an impression of him talking to animals. In Saturday's bit, Wahlberg confronted Samberg, while also aping the impression. Of course, he managed to drop in a mention of "Max Payne" along the way.
Wahlberg's schedule, however, usually doesn't include late nights. He's up by 6 a.m. to get some golf in before Durham takes 4-year-old Ella to school. When he's not filming, he reads scripts and makes calls from his Beverly Hills home. By 7 p.m., he puts the children to bed so he can watch unedited cuts of "Entourage."
Wahlberg concedes that close friends are surprised by the new domestic persona. But it also made him something of a role model.
"He's the guy I look at," says Chris Bridges, aka Ludacris, who also stars in Payne. "That's how you want to transition your career. He's still as competitive and tough as he was when he was making music. But now he's an actor, a producer, a family man.
"He'll probably become a mean golfer, too."