Mark Wahlberg has revealed Christian Bale accepted the role of boxer Dicky Eklund in The Fighter during a chat on the school run.
The Boogie Nights star was executive producer on the film, based on the true story of boxer Micky Ward, and spent several years trying to get the project off the ground, only to see it winning a string of awards and an Oscar nomination for Christian.
Mark told The Sun: "There were a lot of other actors who flirted with playing the part but ultimately no one stepped up and said, 'OK, I'm willing to go to this place'."
He went on: "When I saw Christian at our daughters' school, I thought about his roles in Rescue Dawn and The Machinist and I knew that, physically, he could do this.
"So I approached him in the playground of this school and said, 'Dude, I have this movie and I want you to read it'. He read it, responded right away and committed to the project."
Just as Christian committed to the role, Mark, 39, spent five years getting in shape to play the boxer.
He said: "It's easy to go to the gym for half an hour a day, take your shirt off and feel comfortable about the way you look.
"But I wanted to look like a boxer who would win the title.
"It wasn't so much about getting ripped up and having abdominal muscles, it was about looking like a guy who would win the title.
"That meant spending a lot of time and energy in the ring. I ended up just living and breathing boxing every day for five years."