Mark Wahlberg was able to draw on real-life experience while executive-producing and narrating Leslie Neale’s documentary Juvies, which tells the stories of a dozen youngsters who were prosecuted and sentenced as adults. At 16, the Italian Job star, now 33, served 45 days in an adult prison after being prosecuted for his involvement in a street skirmish – an experience that he credits with helping him change his life for the better. “As soon as I saw (the movie), I was, like, obviously blown away by it,” he told us at a recent screening of the film at Harvard. “So here we are trying to bring as much attention to it as possible.” Next up for Wahlberg: Entourage, a comedy series he executive-produced, premieres on HBO July 18, and he’ll appear in I Heart Huckabee’s with Jude Law and Dustin Hoffman, due in the fall.
Poison No More
Gone are the teased blond locks, the lipstick, the eyeliner, and the appeal to “Talk Dirty to Me.” These days, former Poison frontman Bret Michaels is, well, a little bit country. Michaels, 41, has been living in Nashville on and off since the early ’90s, he tells us – and now he’s gearing up to release an album of country songs this summer, appropriately titled The Other Side of Me. His influences? Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr. and Glen Campbell. “I’ve wanting to do this forever,” says Michaels. “I don’t want you to think I’m a Johnny-come-lately. My father was a humongous country music fan – he’d much rather have had me (do) country than rock. I love country music.”
As for having to start his career at the bottom again, Michaels says that’s no problem. “You can’t start halfway to the top. You have to start at the beginning and build your house from the ground up,” he says. “I did it with Poison, I did it with my film career and I’m doing it with country music. I want to know (that) when they are coming to the arena to see me, it’s the real deal.” Sorry, did you say film career? Anyway, check out samples from the upcoming record at BretMichaels.com.
In Other Metal News …
While we’re updating you on metal stars of the ’80s, Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil, 43, is keeping busy planning his nuptials to Lia Gerardini (aside from reportedly being made over for an MTV show scheduled for August). “I’m planning the entire wedding,” he tells us. “She has no idea what I’m doing. I actually really like it because I’ve never done it before.” Isn’t that sweet?
Not Preaching, But …
While Nicole Kidman, Rosie O’Donnell, Chris Rock and Leonardo DiCaprio are among the celebs who have caught Madonna’s Re-Invention tour, one who isn’t planning to is Danny Aiello. The actor, who played Madonna’s dad in her 1986 “Papa Don’t Preach” video, tells us that “she’s a little too raw for me. It’s the reason I don’t go to (strip club) Scores.”
Caught in the Act
• Natalie Portman, Larry King, Barbara Walters, Paula Zahn, Lauren Bacall, Star Jones, Andy Rooney, the Rev. Al Sharpton, George Stephanopoulos and Al Franken, at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for the gala release of former President Bill Clinton’s memoir.
• Lauren Bush, David Lee Roth, Leona Helmsley and Michael Rispoli (Jackie Aprile Sr. on The Sopranos), at tony New York restaurant the Four Seasons, celebrating the eatery’s 45th anniversary. “Although it maintains an austere pretense, the Four Seasons is actually very young, skinny and hip, and always has been,” Roth said.
• By ANNE DRISCOLL, EILEEN FINAN, KATHY EHRICH, DOUG BRUNSWICK and KC BAKER