HomeViralMark Wahlberg's Villainous Twist: A Stealth Remake of a $320 Million 1980s...

Mark Wahlberg’s Villainous Twist: A Stealth Remake of a $320 Million 1980s Thriller


Mark Wahlberg took on his only villainous role in a 1990s psychological thriller film that many compared to a popular movie from the 1980s.

Mark Wahlberg as David McCall and Reese Witherspoon as Nicole Walker in Fear.Custom Image by Sam MacLennan


 Fear (1996) was seen as a teen version of “Fatal Attraction,” starring Mark Wahlberg as the villain.
 Despite negative reviews, Fear became a sleeper hit, earning $20 million at the box office.
 Wahlberg’s role in Fear was his only true villainous character and led to his nomination for Best Villain at the MTV Movie Awards.

Mark Wahlberg (in his only true villainous role) starred alongside Reese Witherspoon in Fear, a movie that was seemingly inspired by a similar psychological thriller from the 1980s. The 1996 film was directed by James Foley and written by Christopher Crowe, and its story revolves around the strange romance between Wahlberg’s David McCall and Witherspoon’s Nicole Walker.

Nicole is only 16, while David is 23, but their age difference in Fear isn’t the only red flag. As the movie goes on, David’s true character starts revealing itself, leading to an intense narrative that many compared to a previous critically acclaimed film.

Aside from Wahlberg and Witherspoon, the cast of Fear included William Petersen as Steven Walker, Alyssa Milano as Margo Masse, and Amy Brenneman as Laura Walker. Although the 1996 psychological thriller received mostly negative reviews following its premiere, the movie soon became a sleeper hit and ultimately grossed $20 million at the domestic box office.

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Wahlberg was even praised for his performance in the film, which undoubtedly helped kick-start Wahlberg’s movie career. However, one couldn’t help but think of Fear as a sneaky remake of a 1987 movie.

Fear (1996) Was Described As “Fatal Attraction For Teens” (With Mark Wahlberg Replacing Glenn Close)

David McCall (Mark Wahlberg) smirks in Fear (1996).Glenn Close and Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction.Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon look at each other in Fear (1996).Glenn Close as Alex crying and holding her hands up in Fatal AttractionMark Wahlberg as David McCall in Fear (1996)

When Fear premiered in 1996, many immediately thought it was similar to Fatal Attraction, a 1987 erotic psychological thriller starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close (as one of the greatest villains in film history). However, its stalker romance story was geared toward teenagers (since teens were at the film’s center) instead of adults. As a matter of fact, Fear‘s producer, Brian Grazer, even described the movie as “Fatal Attraction for teens,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Wahlberg’s run as an antagonist was short-lived since Fear was the last time the actor played the villain in a movie.

Of course, there are still many differences between Fear and Fatal Attraction, including the fact that Fear was negatively received by critics while Fatal Attraction earned overwhelming praise. Additionally, the villain is gender-swapped in the 1996 film, with Mark Wahlberg assuming the role of Close’s character from the 1987 thriller.

Whereas Close’s Alex Forrest is depicted as the obsessed stalker in Fatal Attraction, Wahlberg’s David McCall is the one who preys on Reese Witherspoon’s character in Fear. Unfortunately, though, Wahlberg’s run as an antagonist was short-lived since Fear was the last time the actor played the villain in a movie.

Mark Wahlberg has starred in 51 movies over the last 28 years, but he has yet to pay off this one villain role in a $20 million thriller from 1996.

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Why Mark Wahlberg Never Played A Villain Again After Fear (Despite Receiving Award Nominations For The Role)

Mark Wahlberg & Reese Witherspoon in Fear (1996)

Even though Mark Wahlberg was nominated for the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain for playing David McCall at the 1997 ceremony (and lost to Jim Carrey), the actor never accepted an evil role again after starring in the 1996 psychological thriller.

Of course, Wahlberg has portrayed a handful of morally questionable characters over the course of his career, but none of them were as villainous as David. Instead, the actor has assumed the role of the protagonist and leading man in his various films. Perhaps after Fear‘s ending, Wahlberg has sworn off playing villains, but he’s undoubtedly excellent at it.


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