Justin Bieber is cast as a young basketball star in a film to be shot next year, in a role opposite Mark Wahlberg.
Wahlberg, star of The Fighter, defended the choice of Bieber for the role in an MTV interview Wednesday, saying he wasn’t put off by Bieber’s lack of experience. The Stratford, Ont., native has appeared in the documentary Never Say Never but otherwise has no big-screen exposure.
“I see the guy and spent time with him and you see what he does and how he does it, and then you actually have a conversation with him and it’s there,” Wahlberg said.
Wahlberg, the former Marky Mark, has made the jump from singer to actor himself and also has several credits as an executive producer.
Wahlberg told MTV he has an “intuition” that Bieber is right for the as-yet-untitled film. The drama takes place in the gritty world of street basketball and involves a young player (Bieber) who is mentored by an older man (Wahlberg himself). Ian Edelman is working on the script but studio Paramount pushed for Bieber as the young player.
Wahlberg compares the film with The Color Of Money, the Martin Scorsese classic, which starred Paul Newman as the pool pro coaching a young Tom Cruise. Wahlberg said the film is set to go into production in 2012.
Bieber took in a Raptors game in Toronto Wednesday and also is featured singing Drummer Boy with Busta Rhymes in an ad celebrating the end of the NBA lockout.