Many folks may not know who he is, but be on the lookout for Anthony H. Thomas. He’s a long time friend and former assistant to Mark Wahlberg who has had numerous cameos in most of Wahlberg’s friends and from a personal standpoint he’s one of the inspirations behind the HBO Hit television show Entourage, which is loosely based on Wahlberg’s Hollywood life. He is best known as one of the original members of The Funky Bunch. During my recent conversation with him he gave off a good vibration (ok, I couldn’t resist). This Christmas he plays a boxer in Mark’s latest movie – The Fighter.
Anthony H. Thomas was born in Boston Massachusetts in a town called Roxbury. He was raised in the inner city, and developed a strong passion for performing arts at an early age. He began writing short stories and poetry in elementary school and expanded on this craft during high school by taking advanced creative writing classes.
Is Boston as tough as its portrayed in the Media?
I don’t know, it is cold there and there are a lot of areas that are rough. Just yesterday a bunch of people got into an argument and someone ended up getting shot.
How did you get out?
I was always in the entertainment industry and going to rehearsals when I was a kid. I was in a real structured environment when I was young, going to Church, going to school, staying with my family. I didn’t get to see the streets until I moved away from home.
What would you say is your fighting style?
I’m a freestyle fighter – I can fight southpaw, I’m also a righty and lefty. It’s a bit of Muhammad Ali. I was always a fan of martial arts movies and was heavily influenced by Bruce Lee.
How did you meet Mark?
We met years ago through Break Dancing. I had one of the best crews in town and he would come down and watch us. Mark and I started working together in the Funk Effect and then I choreographed the New Kids on the Block. We shared a passion for the stage and always furthered our careers.
Was there ever a period where you were Jealous?
I’ve seen the ups and downs of success and think Mark has taken everything gracefully. I was never jealous, just happy to see one of my close friends become successful.
Does being involved in his productions open doors?
Yes, he always looks out for his friends and makes introductions to people whenever you ask him.
Every period has the "It" action guy – it from Bruce Lee to Bruce Willis to Sylvester Stallone. Who do you think is today’s action guy?
I would say Mark is the Action Guy; he’s done some great films and he’s great here.
Entourage is supposed to be loosely based on Mark’s life, which Entourage Character is based on you?
Since I’ve been the guy with from the beginning, I can say the show is pretty on point. When we were younger we did a lot of wild stuff. We would be hanging out at the hottest clubs and parties, had celebrity friends, I used to joke around with Mark and say we should make a show about our life and then I was surprised when he actually did it.
Can you talk a little bit about what you are doing on Fighter?
I was one of the Boxers who fought him later on in his career.
What’s your training routine?
I trained with Mark for about five years for this film. Sometimes I’d go to work with bruised ribs and black eyes. In Boxing you are going to get hit. I would train with him 4 hours a day and got the opportunity to work with other boxers.
How did the Choreography Work?
David O. Russell knew what he wanted, so the process was pretty "easy."
What was the motivation to do your short Story?
[Ed Note, Anthony is working on a movie short and music video for The Fighter] I wanted to show young kids that if you work hard to make your dreams come true. I came from an area with low income families and here I am in a Paramount Picture. I think god had a lot to do with my success. I worked on 13 movies with Mark but this is only the 7th film I’ve had a speaking part with.
What are you working on Next?
I’m working on getting on another film and I’m trying to get on the Backstreet Boys tour and we recently had a reunion and it was a great time.
Do you fear relying on Mark too much?
Money doesn’t and hasn’t changed our friendship over the years and he’s always willing to help his friends, just like all of us. We come from really down to earth families and they bring us down to earth.
So the stories about Hollywood Assistants are treated are exaggerated?
From my experience I’ve seen a lot of great relationships between assistants and actors. Christian Bale has a great friendship with his. It’s a lot like Friendships you sometimes end up demanding too much.
Why should we see The Fighter?
It’s a great cast, incredible story and very inspirational.