The June 26th Fenway-area frenzy extended beyond Billy Joel’s concert at the ballpark. Just down the road on Brookline Ave., Dorchester’s own Mark Wahlberg was in town promoting his film, “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
Wahlberg’s charity, the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, teamed up with Hasbro for the Regal Fenway movie theater event, creating a special evening for hundreds of children served by local Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
After spending time in the Hasbro tent outside of the theater where kids were able to play with a variety of the company’s toys and games, Wahlberg introduced the film to the special guests, then walked a red carpet set up outside of the screenings where he commented on what made this particular event different from others.
“Any time I can remind these kids that, you know, not only am I from the same place that they are, but I can...accomplish my goals [and] they can do the same thing,” Wahlberg said during an interview with Boston.com. “I want to continue to encourage them and inspire them to go out there and make it happen. So it’s exciting, too, because it’s a movie that they’ll really enjoy.”
Wahlberg established the foundation with his brother James in 2001 to help raise and distribute funds to inner-city youth service and enrichment programs, which made him that much more excited to be able to host an event that served those youth.
“I do an event for every movie that I have coming out and most of them aren’t geared toward kids,” Wahlberg added. “This is the first kid-friendly movie that I’ve done.”
Three of Wahlberg’s own children (he decided it was too mature for his 4-year-old daughter) caught a sneak peek of the film in New York on Wednesday night and the actor said the two sons and his eldest daughter loved it.
Also on hand for the latest in the “Transformers” saga was former Patriots offensive tackle, Matt Light, who was glad to be involved in an evening which rewarded local youth.
“Mark’s real mission is to educate these kids and give them an avenue to have some fun and get educated and look at things from a different perspective,” Light said. “He grew up where he had to fight for everything that he has, and he knows he was fortunate, but he knows a lot of them aren’t.”
Light, who has remained Boston-based since with his wife and four kids since retiring from the NFL, is involved with a charity of his own: The Light Foundation.
Light and his wife Susie founded the non-profit in 2001 to give at-risk youth a “better chance at leading healthy lives by using the great outdoors to learn and grow,” according to its website. In the future, the former Patriots star hopes to organize a partnership with the Wahlberg Youth Foundation.
“I think eventually we’ll be taking some kids that he gives us some direction on and that he can funnel through our program,” Light commented on the potential partnership. “And we’ll utilize their network and tap that into what we do best and that’s getting these kids into the outdoors.”
Also in attendance was Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, who served as an executive producer on the fourth “Transformers” film and dished on what he hoped would make this film different from initial trilogy.
“We really wanted in this movie to take this brand and the franchise to a whole new level,” Goldner said. “And that was about a whole new cast and a new direction for the film from a human character story, but then also we wanted to give the Autobots and the Decepticons a new story as well.”
Goldner was happy to team up with his foundation for the screening event.
“What we love about Mark and why we wanted to partner up here is because his mantra is really our mantra and we just execute it all around the world,” Goldner said. “We have offices all over the world, and everywhere that we do business, we just want to do things for the community and give back.
“It’s about enhancing our shareholders but it’s also about enhancing the communities that we work in and that we play in,” Goldner added.
Wahlberg will be back in his hometown at the end of July for a few months while he films “Ted 2” with Amanda Seyfried. While he couldn’t comment on what other new faces we’d be seeing in the sequel, he did say there would be plenty.
“We start shooting next month and I’m looking forward to being back here,” Wahlberg said. “Again, [there’s] pros and cons of being home working — other distractions that you don’t normally have, but it’ll be the perfect time of year to be here.”