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Mark Wahlberg headlines a special screening of his upcoming film Father Stu in Phoenix

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Mark Wahlberg headlines a special screening of his upcoming film Father Stu in Phoenix

Mark Wahlberg headlined a special screening of his latest film, posing for pictures with eager fans who showed up for a sneak peek in Phoenix of the uplifting new drama, Father Stu.

The Oscar nominated star looked svelte in all black as he introduced the film based on the true story of Stuart Long, a boxer who leaves his native Montana for Los Angeles with dreams of becoming an actor.

While scraping by as a supermarket clerk in the City of Angels, he falls for the beautiful Carmen, (Teresa Ruiz), who thwarts his romantic efforts because he isn’t Catholic.

Special screening: Mark Wahlberg headlined a special screening of his latest film, posing for pictures with eager fans who showed up for a sneak peek in Phoenix of the uplifting new drama, Father Stu; Mark pictured with Bishop Thomas Olmsted

Special screening: Mark Wahlberg headlined a special screening of his latest film, posing for pictures with eager fans who showed up for a sneak peek in Phoenix of the uplifting new drama, Father Stu; Mark pictured with Bishop Thomas Olmsted

Special screening: Mark Wahlberg headlined a special screening of his latest film, posing for pictures with eager fans who showed up for a sneak peek in Phoenix of the uplifting new drama, Father Stu; Mark pictured with Bishop Thomas Olmsted

Meeting the fans: The Oscar nominated star looked svelte in all black as he introduced the film based on the true story of Stuart Long

Meeting the fans: The Oscar nominated star looked svelte in all black as he introduced the film based on the true story of Stuart Long

Meeting the fans: The Oscar nominated star looked svelte in all black as he introduced the film based on the true story of Stuart Long

On his way to conversion, Stu is seriously injured in a terrible motorcycle accident. After his recovery, the former agnostic begins to wonder if there isn’t something else out there for him and decides that rather than marry his girlfriend, he will go all in, and become a priest. 

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Walking the straight and narrow becomes even more difficult when he is diagnosed with an incurable degenerative muscle disease.

The newly ordained Father fights against the odds and in return inspires countless others on his spiritual journey. 

Jovial: For Friday's screening, Mark appeared to be in an extra jovial mood as he posed for photographs in front of the projection screen

Jovial: For Friday's screening, Mark appeared to be in an extra jovial mood as he posed for photographs in front of the projection screen

Jovial: For Friday’s screening, Mark appeared to be in an extra jovial mood as he posed for photographs in front of the projection screen

Mingling: Mark was also captured mingling with a slew of other screening attendees after addressing the crowd from the front of the theater

Mingling: Mark was also captured mingling with a slew of other screening attendees after addressing the crowd from the front of the theater

Attentive: He showcased his listening skills during one riveting conversation inside the theater

Attentive: He showcased his listening skills during one riveting conversation inside the theater

Mingling: Mark was also captured mingling with a slew of other screening attendees after addressing the crowd from the front of the theater

Special guest: He was joined by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, who recently announced his retirement after serving as head of the Phoenix diocese for 18 years

Special guest: He was joined by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, who recently announced his retirement after serving as head of the Phoenix diocese for 18 years

Special guest: He was joined by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, who recently announced his retirement after serving as head of the Phoenix diocese for 18 years

Say cheese! Mark seen beaming beside fans for a photo

Say cheese! Mark seen beaming beside fans for a photo

Say cheese! Mark seen beaming beside fans for a photo

For Friday’s screening, Mark appeared to be in an extra jovial mood as he posed for photographs in front of the projection screen.

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He was joined by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, who recently announced his retirement after serving as head of the Phoenix diocese for 18 years.

Mark was also captured mingling with a slew of other screening attendees after addressing the crowd from the front of the theater.

Taking hits: The father of four, who played a boxer in The Fighter, gained 30 pounds in order to demonstrate how the beloved priest's body declined during his devastating illness

Taking hits: The father of four, who played a boxer in The Fighter, gained 30 pounds in order to demonstrate how the beloved priest's body declined during his devastating illness

Taking hits: The father of four, who played a boxer in The Fighter, gained 30 pounds in order to demonstrate how the beloved priest’s body declined during his devastating illness

Inspiration: Mark, who is Catholic, was inspired by the story and not only stars in the film, but acts as a producer as well. The 50-year-old actor told the Religion News Service 'Father's Stu's journey from troublemaker to clergyman was inspiring to many, including me'

Inspiration: Mark, who is Catholic, was inspired by the story and not only stars in the film, but acts as a producer as well. The 50-year-old actor told the Religion News Service 'Father's Stu's journey from troublemaker to clergyman was inspiring to many, including me'

Inspiration: Mark, who is Catholic, was inspired by the story and not only stars in the film, but acts as a producer as well. The 50-year-old actor told the Religion News Service ‘Father’s Stu’s journey from troublemaker to clergyman was inspiring to many, including me’

Struggle:  Father Stu served many during his years as a priest including prisoners

Struggle:  Father Stu served many during his years as a priest including prisoners

Struggle:  Father Stu served many during his years as a priest including prisoners

Mark, who is Catholic, was inspired by the story and not only stars in the film, but acts as a producer as well. The 50-year-old actor told the Religion News Service ‘Father’s Stu’s journey from troublemaker to clergyman was inspiring to many, including me.’ 

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The father of four, who played a boxer in The Fighter, gained 30 pounds in order to demonstrate how the beloved priest’s body declined during his devastating illness.

‘I was eating 11,000 calories a day. That drastic weight gain really took a toll on me over the course of the last seven, eight months.’

Coming soon: Father Stu will open in theaters on April 13

Coming soon: Father Stu will open in theaters on April 13

Coming soon: Father Stu will open in theaters on April 13

Fellow Catholic Mel Gibson stars at the priest’s father and Academy Award winner Jacki Weaver as his mother. 

The Braveheart star’s partner, Rosalind Ross wrote the script and directed the project.    

Father Stu will open in theaters on April 13.

Faith: Fellow Catholic Mel Gibson stars at the priest's father and Academy Award winner Jacki Weaver as his mother. The Braveheart star's partner, Rosalind Ross wrote the script and directed the project

Faith: Fellow Catholic Mel Gibson stars at the priest's father and Academy Award winner Jacki Weaver as his mother. The Braveheart star's partner, Rosalind Ross wrote the script and directed the project

Faith: Fellow Catholic Mel Gibson stars at the priest’s father and Academy Award winner Jacki Weaver as his mother. The Braveheart star’s partner, Rosalind Ross wrote the script and directed the project

Mark Wahlberg headlines a special screening of his upcoming film Father Stu in PhoenixSource

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