Ben Foster: A One Man Contraband

The star of Contraband talks Marky Mark and tramp stamps
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The star of Contraband talks Marky Mark and tramp stamps

The star of Contraband talks Marky Mark and tramp stamps

Photo: Universal Pictures | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Ben Foster has spent the last couple years purging any memories of Flash Forward with menacing tough guy roles in Alpha Dog, Hostage, 3:10 to Yuma and plenty more. In Contraband, he enters the underworld once again as a pal of Mark Wahlberg, who has to pull one last smuggling job. We talked to Foster about this movie -- out on Blu-ray and DVD now -- as well as his upcoming role with Harry Potter.

Can you tell me what your first meeting with Mark Wahlberg was like, because he just seems like a really intimidating guy.

We met at some silly Hollywood function where you have to put on a suit and shake a lot of hands. I was actually really excited to talk with him because I’ve been a fan of Mark’s for a long, long time and he said we should work together at some point. I thought that was nice of him to say but didn’t expect anything to come of it. But true to his word and true to his character, he called me up about a year later and said, “I want you to do this film with me.” And far from intimidating, he’s one of the most loyal, level-headed folks in Hollywood I’ve ever met. Couldn’t say enough about Mark. He’s fucking terrific.

If you were to start a crime ring like the one in Contraband, what would you smuggle?

Gosh, I don’t know. What has the most street value? I mean cocaine seems to be an unfortunate popular party favor. There might be some street value there. I don’t know, it depends on what you can move the fastest, in the largest amount. I don’t know, birds, parrots? What would you smuggle?

Pandas would probably be profitable.

Yeah, I’d say pandas. I’d smuggle pandas. For sexual favors, though.

Photo: Universal Pictures | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

What are some of your favorite crime movies?

Le Cercle rouge. [Jean-Pierre] Meville directed it. It’s sexy, it’s dangerous, it’s got a beautiful look to it. It moves well.

As someone who was in X-Men: The Last Stand and The Punisher, which of the comic book movies coming up this year are you the most excited about?

I’m excited about Batman. Chris Nolan is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. I’m a huge fun of his, and you can’t go wrong with Christian [Bale] and Tom Hardy. Big fan of those guys.

You’ve got several tattoos. Do you think you’ll get more?

I don’t know, I don’t have a tramp stamp yet. Maybe a butterfly above my ass.

You’re currently filming Kill Your Darlings with Daniel Radcliffe. Have there been a lot of Harry Potter groupies mobbing your shooting locations?

Yeah, a lot of those. Daniel handles it, takes it in stride. I’m very impressed with Daniel as a real workhorse. It’s not easy to drag around ten years of a film series that is so popular and delve into an icon like Allen Ginsberg, but I’ve been nothing but impressed with the man.

You’re also going to play John Gotti Jr. How have been preparing for this role?

Well that’s been off the books. That’s been on and off with financing. I gained 30 pounds for the role and then just dropped 50 for William [S. Burroughs, in Kill Your Darlings], so I’m hoping that when Gotti goes on I’ll have time to fatten back up, because nothing’s better than eating pasta and drinking wine and calling it prep.

Is there anything else you’re excited to binge on?

Ice cream sandwiches. Dark beer. The good stuff.



Contraband is out on Blu-ray and DVD now!