Mark Wahlberg had a special pre-race surprise for a team of Boston Marathon runners on Saturday.
The Daddy’s Home star, 44, headed to the Revere Hotel Boston to meet the 68 members of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s Race for Rehab team as they prepped for the 26.2-mile race on Monday.
Wahlberg – currently in Boston filming Peter Berg’s Patriots Day, a retelling of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing – entered the room to “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” by the Dropkick Murphys, alongside costar Michael Beach, who will play former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Wearing a blue sweatshirt, a Red Sox baseball cap, blue jeans, and work boots, the Boston native posed for photos with running team, and gave a passionate speech about his involvement in the film.
“Everybody knows somebody who was directly impacted by the bombings at the marathon, and what a horrible tragedy it was. And when they decided they were going to make this movie, they had come to me and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it, and I was like, I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Wahlberg told the group, which included survivors Heather Abbott, Roseanne Sdoia, and police officer Dic Donohue.
“But then when I read the script then I realized, oh my God, this is so powerful and so inspiring and such a tribute to everybody: victims, the rescue workers, the police department, the FBI, everybody,” Wahlberg said.
“I also realized that if I wasn’t going to be a part of this somebody else was going to be … and I didn’t know if they would handle it and be as committed to getting it right as I would,” he continued. “So, I figured, you know what, I needed to be a part of this and I am so glad that I did.”
Wahlberg made a special promise to the team, which has raised almost $500,000 this year to benefit Spaulding, where 32 survivors were treated.
“I can guarantee every one of you guys that we are going to make every single person very, very proud, and that’s what we’re committed to doing,” he said, adding:
“I pride myself on being able to come back and hold my head up high, and I want to promise you guys how committed I am – how committed we all are – to getting it right and making everybody proud.”
It is slated to open in theaters on Dec. 21.