He's already producing and acting in the movie -- but now Mark Wahlberg is making a play to DIRECT his upcoming movie about the life of NBA star Caron Butler.
We broke the story ... Wahlberg has been targeting huge names like Spike Lee, Peter Berg and Barry Jenkins to direct the flick about Butler's journey from dealing drugs to becoming an NBA all-star.
Our sources say Wahlberg is very passionate about the project -- and thinks it could be the perfect movie to make his directorial debut.
Wahlberg gave a clue during an interview with Collider, saying he has "one specific project" he'd love to direct ... teasing "it takes place in Wisconsin. It's a true story."
And guess where Caron Butler grew up? WISCONSIN!!!
One problem (that's not really a problem) -- Wahlberg says he thinks Peter Berg is REALLLY going to want the project ... jokingly saying, "I made the mistake of sending him the script."
Not a bad problem to have ...