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Who is that guy? Was he in that boxing movie? With the guns?

That’s right, it’s Mickey Rourke. And by the time February rolls around, you may be seeing him on the cover of a lot of magazines that weren’t returning his calls a scant few years ago.

His latest, The Wrestler just took home the top prize from Cannes (with a little help from indie auteur Darren Aronofsky), and its new distribution deal guarantees him an Oscar campaign and a few months in the media spotlight. In other words, the folks at *GQ* are on the phone with his publicist right now—if he still has a publicist—and the early reports indicate he’s a hell of an interview. Hopefully, he can pull off a suit too.

Rourke’s earlier moment in the sun came in the mid-eighties, culminating in Vinnie Chase’s favorite movie The Pope of Greenwich Village, but he blew it in a typically Hollywood mix of drugs, women and ego. He spent a decade boxing and turning down great roles—including Butch Coolidge in Pulp Fiction—but it looks like Aronofsky is ready to bring him back to the a-list.

As Rourke tells it, the writer-director pulled no punches when he offered the project.

He said “You’ve been difficult.” I nodded my head. He said, “You’ve thrown your career away.” I nodded my head. Whatever he said, I agreed. He tried to make me feel 2 inches tall. He raised his voice and he pointed his finger at me and said, “You can never disrespect me. You can never fuck around with girls at night. You can’t go to Miami over the holidays because I know you’ll be out partying every night. And by the way, I can’t pay you because we have no money.”

Quite a pitch, but Rourke was wise enough to take it. And, naturally, he got the director back on the interview circuit, saying, “Darren has got to be the worst dresser on the planet. That outfit! He told me it was Prada, but all I could think was–he looks like a UPS delivery guy.”

We’re sure he’ll go far.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom