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Mark Wahlberg on Rahm Emanuel: ‘I absolutely love the guy’

Mayor Rahm Emanuel poses with 'Broken City' director Allen Hughes (center) star Mark Wahlberg during their City Hall visit Monday

Mayor Rahm Emanuel poses with "Broken City" director Allen Hughes (center) and star Mark Wahlberg during their City Hall visit on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013.

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Updated: February 19, 2013 12:35PM



Mark Wahlberg has a man crush.

On Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“He’s the best,” Wahlberg said while he was in Chicago recently promoting his new movie, “Broken City.” “I absolutely love the guy.”

What do you love about him?

“Everything,” Wahlberg said.

“Broken City,” which opens Friday, features Russell Crowe as a crooked New York City mayor. The mayor hires ex-cop-turned-private eye Billy Taggart, played by Wahlberg, to trail the mayor’s wife, who may be having an affair. From the police department to the zoning department, Taggart discovers his city is dirty and seeks to redeem City Hall and himself.

While Chicago is no stranger to entrenched government corruption, Wahlberg says we should sleep soundly at night now that Emanuel is in charge.

“You should rest easy knowing that there is a man that cares that much,” he said in a Peninsula Hotel room where he and “Broken City” director Allen Hughes sat for a day of interviews. “He’s making it happen.”

Nine years before “Broken City,” Wahlberg produced “Entourage,” an HBO series following the life of an up-and-coming actor, Vincent Chase, and his friends from Queens. The characters on the show, which ended in 2011, were modeled after Wahlberg and his Boston buddies. Chase’s agent, Ari Gold, was played by Jeremy Piven and based on Ari Emanuel, Rahm Emanuel’s younger brother.

During a lunch break from their press tour, Wahlberg and Hughes went to City Hall so Wahlberg could introduce Emanuel to Hughes. Hughes left impressed that the mayor apparently can give as good as he gets.

“Wow!” Hughes of the meeting. “[Emanuel] was sharp, fast, quick, funny and his mouth is like a machine gun. And I’ve never seen anyone match Mark verbally. ... He was pretty endearing. I was shocked.”

During a preview screening in the South Loop, Wahlberg told the audience of enthusiastic lady fans that Chicago is “my kind of city — cold but real.”

“Talk about a city that loves corruption,” he said. “Thank God for Rahm Emanuel.”

The next day, during the Sun-Times interview, he said Chicago should give Emanuel free rein.

“He’s not going to tolerate any nonsense,” Wahlberg said. “It’s his way or the highway. I think based on all his experience, his passion, his commitment, his dedication to the city, they should let him do whatever he wants.”

“It’s true,” Hughes added.

Neither Hughes nor Wahlberg said “Broken City” was meant as a commentary on the current widespread distrust and dissatisfaction with government at all levels. Wahlberg said he was more concerned about Chicago’s high murder rate and entrenched street gangs. When he returns to Chicago this summer to shoot “Transformers 4,” Wahlberg wants to set up some events for inner-city kids, like basketball games, and work on building television and recording studios in Boys and Girls Clubs. His foundation has already built two, in Boston and Los Angeles.

For Hughes, though, a foie gras hot dog from Hot Doug’s seemed to leave more of an impression than meeting the mayor.

“They said even in the snow you have to wait in line,” said Hughes, who didn’t have to wait at all. Someone brought him the hot dog.

“It’s a hot dog that’s all kinds of fantastic,” he said. “The hot dog is incredible.”



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