Mark Wahlberg Says He ‘Fell in Love’ with His “Arthur the King” Canine Costar: 'I Tried to Bribe the Trainer' (Exclusive)

The actor, 52, spoke in an exclusive chat with PEOPLE at a special screening for his new film Monday

<p>Carlos Rodriguez/Courtesy of Lionsgate</p> Mark Wahlberg in <em>Arthur the King</em>

Carlos Rodriguez/Courtesy of Lionsgate

Mark Wahlberg in Arthur the King

Mark Wahlberg is obsessed with his latest costar!

The actor, 52, told PEOPLE at a screening and adoption event at California's Westfield Century City for his new film Arthur the King on Monday that he tried to bring home his canine costar Ukai — who was by his side at the event — after “falling in love” with the pooch on set.

“Oh my God, I tried to bribe the trainer to sell me the dog,” Wahlberg reveals to PEOPLE. “I offered her whatever she would want. But, of course, that bond is not something that you can separate. I just fell in love with him.”

“I was amazed by how close we got and our connection. So, of course, I wanted him,” he continues.

<p>Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images </p> Mark Wahlberg and Ukai

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Mark Wahlberg and Ukai

The father of four shares that his children also “wanted me to bring him home” after growing close with his adorable costar. “But I completely understood ... I took a shot,” Wahlberg adds.

Related: Mark Wahlberg and Wife Rhea Wish Daughter Grace a Happy 14th Birthday with Sweet Photos: 'Keep Shining'

The Family Plan star recalls his experience working with canine Ukai being “amazing,” which led to the actor having plenty of happy memories from the set.

“You know, we had many amazing moments,” Wahlberg says. “[My favorite moment] I would have to say anytime when the real race started for me, after the race was over and they crossed the finish line.”

He continues, “But when the race to save Arthur started, that for me was like the real movie. That was the race. So to be able to do any scenes with Ukai, as Arthur, on an emotional level and to see how powerful his performance was was awesome.”

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Arthur the King is based on the true story of Swedish extreme athlete and author Mikael Lindnordand his relationship with a dog named Arthur he met at a 2014 championship adventure race in Ecuador, shared in Lindnord’s 2016 book Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home.

In the film, Wahlberg portrays the character Michael Light (who is based on Lindnord) alongside pooch Ukai, who plays his four-legged companion Arthur, as they team up for an epic endurance race.

Related: Mark Wahlberg Raises Awareness About Pet Adoption Alongside His Arthur the King Canine Costar: Watch

Wahlberg’s appearance with costar Ukai on Monday comes after the costars starred alongside each again in a PSA raising awareness about the importance of pet adoption last week. In the clip, which was released in collaboration with Lionsgate and the Best Friends Animal Society, Wahlberg highlighted how all animals need “is someone like you to show them the way home" as he encouraged listeners to adopt a dog in need from shelters.

Arthur the King releases in theaters on March 15.

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