ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Denzel Washington is returning to the Land of Enchantment. And he’s bringing along Mark Wahlberg.
The two actors will come to New Mexico to film the action spy film, “2 Guns”, for three weeks beginning in late August. Washington was last in the state when he filmed 2010’s “The Book of Eli.”
“2 Guns” is based on the Steven Grant comic book. It follows Washington, who plays DEA agent Bobby, and Wahlberg, who plays undercover Naval Intelligence Officer Stig. The two men are unwittingly investigating each other as each steals mob money, but are being set up by the mob to steal $50 million from the CIA.
It is described as a crime romp in the vein of “Ocean’s Thirteen” and “The Italian Job,” according to the Boom! Studios website, which publishes the comic book series.
‘2 Guns’ has an estimated budget of $90 million and is being distributed by Universal Pictures.
Nick Maniatis, director of the New Mexico Film Office, said the film office and Universal Pictures have been in talks for months but couldn’t confirm the project coming to New Mexico until now.
He said the production is wrapping up in New Orleans and will begin production for three weeks in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
“It’s great that they are coming here and we’re more than excited to keep film production going in the state. We’re excited about the project,” he said. “Denzel has been here before and it’s good to have him back. I don’t know if Mark has filmed here but the cast is strong and has a lot of names. But for me, it’s not so important to have big-name stars. What’s important is that we’re getting the productions here and are still in the game with film production.”
The production will have its home base in Santa Fe, though no studio work will be done, Maniatis said.
“All of the shooting will be done on location,” he said. “It will more than likely be done outside.”
Its supporting cast includes Edward James Olmos as a villainous drug lord; Paula Patton as Washington’s fellow DEA agent and love interest; Bill Paxton as a high-ranking CIA operative; and James Marsden as a naval commander.
The script is from Blake Masters, who wrote Showtime’s “Brotherhood.” Directing the film is Baltasar Kormákur, who directed Wahlberg in this year’s “Contraband.”
The production will employ at least 100 New Mexico crew members, 10 New Mexico principal actors and more than 400 background talent.
“Every time we get a film like this, it gives hope to our local film industry that we are still viable in the industry,” Maniatis said.
Maniatis said in the past couple months the film office has received numerous calls about productions.
“In this business everything can change in an instant,” he said. “With getting ‘2 Guns,’ we’re showing that we still can get the productions. Our fall is looking really strong right now with productions and I’m betting our winter will get more productions as we move closer.”
Numerous film outlets are reporting that director Peter Berg will bring his next film — “Lone Survivor” — to New Mexico in late September.
“Lone Survivor” is based on the failed mission “Operation Red Wings” which tasked four Navy SEALs to kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah on June 28, 2005. They were quickly compromised and under attack, and Marcus Luttrell was the only member to survive and evade capture. Walhberg is slated to star as Luttrell with Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster co-starring.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal