'Family Plan:' Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan have different road-trip memories

Their new vacation comedy premieres Friday on Apple TV+.

"Family Plan" stars, left to right, Mark Wahlberg, one of the twins -- Iliana or Vienna Norris -- who play baby Max, Michelle Monaghan, Zoe Colletti and Van Crosby. Photo courtesy of Apple TV+
1 of 5 | "Family Plan" stars, left to right, Mark Wahlberg, one of the twins -- Iliana or Vienna Norris -- who play baby Max, Michelle Monaghan, Zoe Colletti and Van Crosby. Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

NEW YORK, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan, co-stars of the new vacation comedy, The Family Plan, describe very different experiences when asked about real-life road trips they have taken.

"My dad was a truck driver and, so, him and my mom would sit up in the front in the cab, and the rest of us would be in the freezer portion of the truck, no seat belts -- maybe somebody would have a milk crate to sit on," Wahlberg, who was the youngest of nine children, told UPI in a Zoom interview Saturday.


"There were no windows, obviously. We'd just be bouncing around back there," the 52-year-old actor said. "Very, very memorable, even when I got left at the amusement park or lost at the lake. All still very memorable."

The father of four hasn't taken his own kids on many road trips, however.


"The most we can keep them in the car is two, three hours before there is some sort of meltdown," he joked.

Monaghan, 47, said she camped every summer with her family when she was growing up.

"Those are some of my fondest memories as a child, just being in that car -- it was a Suburban that we had -- and we always pitched a tent. It was awesome," she said.

"Now, as an adult, I take a lot of family road trips, usually not more than five hours [from home], but they are very different," Monaghan said.

"There are devices. [The kids] have their ear pods on. I don't feel like it is as connected, even though they love it. I like junk food all over the car and pillows. Now there's just chargers [everywhere]."

Directed by Simon Cellan Jones and sharing cinematic DNA with True Lies and National Lampoon's Vacation, The Family Plan premieres on Apple TV+ on Friday.

It follows Wahlberg's Dan Morgan -- a car salesman, devoted husband and father of three -- whose relatively peaceful life is upended when rivals from his secret former life as an assassin discover his location after his picture shows up on social media.


The development sends Dan and his unsuspecting family on a road trip from Buffalo, N.Y., to Las Vegas, without using electronic devices such as GPS or cell phones so they can stay off the grid and the bad guys don't find them.

Monaghan plays Dan's bored wife, Jessica, while Zoe Colletti and Van Crosby play his teen kids, Nina and Kyle, who have secrets of their own. Twins Iliana and Vienna share the role of toddler Max.

Despite the story's extraordinary circumstances, Wahlberg called the movie's depiction of typical family dynamics "really spot-on."

"I can't wait to see the movie with an audience and hear people applauding when those phones get flung out the window," he said.

"It's one thing to talk about how much fun we had making a movie, but it's great to hear how much fun people have watching the film, how enjoyable and relatable it is for both parents and children."

Monaghan said she also saw a lot of truth in the script, acknowledging it is big fun, but also had a lot of smart things to say about marriage and parenthood.

"It felt so real and had so much heart to it, but then it made me laugh out loud," she said.


"It was honestly the easiest 'yes' to want to be a part of it and, certainly, to get the opportunity to work with Mark again," she said of her former Patriots Day co-star. "We had a blast making it. We really had a wonderful dynamic between the entire cast and the kids."

In real life, Monaghan has been married to graphic artist Peter White since 2005. They are the parents of a 15-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.

"There was so much that I identified with," she said about the movie.

"All of those moments were so relatable about families just walking through life, feeling a little disconnected and all over the place," the actress added. "Going to bed at night and going, 'Gosh! There's got to be more than this! We need to be more spontaneous. We need to reconnect! We need to rediscover one another!'"

The movie has numerous action sequences from Jess kickboxing and doing a keg stand while guzzling beer on a college campus tour to Dan taking out the assassins before they get him.

"I like to dabble in a lot of different genres, and this film afforded me the opportunity to dip into a lot of them -- the comedy, the action," Monaghan said.


"It provides a lot of color and depth for a character," she added. "I was excited to get to do all of it."

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