The Wrestler a film by Darren Aronofsky starring Mickey Rourke Part 2

Tuesday, January 06, 2009 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

Continuing my discussion of The Wrestler and a chance to chat to Mickey Rourke.

Mon 5 December 2008, early evening Leicester Square, London. The producers opted for a low key UK premiere for The Wrestler with a celebrity audience as well as Mickey Rourke in attendance. Meanwhile just around the corner at the Curzon Soho an intimate audience of around 250 people gathered at the Curzon Soho to view a special preview of The Wrestler and participate in a Q&A session with the film's leading man Mickey Rourke.

I was keen to gain some insight into the man I had held in a revere, pertinent questions such as; how did he feel about his career in light of the buzz around The Wrestler? Did he dig deeper for this role than others? Did he have to undergo any physical conditioning (apart from wrestling training) for the role? Did he contribute to the storyline (and location choices)? What's next for Mickey Rourke? What was the latest with Sin City 2? Would Marv be back?

Rourke has clearly been left burned and disillusioned by the politics behind Hollywood. But after hitting rock bottom "living on fumes", he is trying to change what "he did not understand needed to be changed". Up until the post production process of The Wrestler he was unaware of his next steps or what his next job might be. He is grateful for the kudos received for the Wrestler and is hopeful for the future. In spite of his his troubles Rourke is still very much his own person.

He really wanted to work with Aranofsky and had developed a bond after Aranofsky put his backing behind Rourke for the role. Although Aranofsky set the
bar high for cast, Rourke strived to bring the character of Randy 'The Ram' Robinson to life as much to apply his craft as to meet Aranofsky's expectations.

His training regime allowed him to gain 34 pounds of muscle for the role. In the film he looks every bit the professional Wrestler. He underwent Wrestling training intense enough to shift him from thinking that Wrestling was on par with pantomime to respect for the sport and the sportsmen that participate in it. He sustained several serious injuries while filming.

Rourke's next projects include:
A remake of "13 Tzameti" directed by the Géla Babluani who wrote and directed the original.

My initial thoughts on seeing 13 were: Mind blowing little film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Has all the trademarks of a first time film school production (lighting, black & white, metaphors, etc.) but all comes together in a gritty tale. Hopefully the remake starrring; Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Ray Winstone, and 50 Cent will stay true to its roots.

Twenty-two-year-old Sebastien leads an impoverished life with his immigrant family constantly struggling to support them. While repairing the roof of a neighbor's house, he overhears a conversation about an expected package which promises to make the household rich.

Sensing the opportunity of a lifetime, Sebastien intercepts the package which contains a series of specific instructions. Following the clues, he assumes a false identity and manages to slip through the grasp of the enclosing police as he ventures deeper and deeper into the countryside. The closer he gets to his destination and the more people he meets along the way, the less he understands about what he is looking for. Ultimately, he comes face to face with a ring of clandestine gamblers placing bets on the outcome of a multi-player, high stakes tournament of Russian roulette. Directed by newcomer Gela Babluani, "13 Tzameti" (pronounced: 'zah-meti') is a winner-takes-all thriller, where an unfortunate young man is transformed into contestant #13 with no way out save his luck.

He is also in Bret Easton Ellis's The Informers and Elmore Leonard's much delayed Killshot which will also be released in 2009. He is also rumoured to be in Stallone's "The Expendables" and cast as "Whiplash" a villain in Iron Man 2.

In private discussion he was tight lipped about Marv's possible return in Sin City 2. I did not found out what the significance of the fun fairs was or if there was indeed any. Hopefully Mickey's talent will be recognised and his path ahead is less bumpy than the one behind him.

The Wrestler opens in the UK on January 16th.